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by Robert A. Heinlein 




Jane Sencenbaugh 

Copyright 1966 by Robert A. Heinlein 

A short version of this novel appeared in The Worlds of If magazine. 
Copyright 1965, 1966 by Robert A. Heinlein. 





Book One 



I see in Lunaya Pravda that Luna City Council has passed on first reading 
a bill to examine, license, inspect--and tax--public food vendors 
operating inside municipal pressure. I see also is to be mass meeting 
tonight to organize "Sons of Revolution" talk-talk. 

My old man taught me two things: "Mind own business" and "Always 
cut cards." Politics never tempted me. But on Monday 13 May 2075 I was in 
computer room of Lunar Authority Complex, visiting with computer boss 
Mike while other machines whispered among themselves. Mike was not 
official name; I had nicknamed him for Mycroft Holmes, in a story written 
by Dr. Watson before he founded IBM. This story character would just sit 
and think--and that's what Mike did. Mike was a fair dinkum thinkum, 
sharpest computer you'll ever meet. 

Not fastest. At Bell Labs, Bueno Aires, down Earthside, they've got 
a thinkum a tenth his size which can answer almost before you ask. But 

matters whether you get answer in microsecond rather than millisecond as 
long as correct? 

Not that Mike would necessarily give right answer; he wasn't 
completely honest. 

When Mike was installed in Luna, he was pure thinkum, a flexible 
logic-- "High-Optional , Logical, Multi-Evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV, 

Mod. L"--a HOLMES FOUR. He computed ballistics for pilotless freighters 
and controlled their catapult. This kept him busy less than one percent 
of time and Luna Authority never believed in idle hands. They kept 
hooking hardware into him--decision-action boxes to let him boss other 
computers, bank on bank of additional memories, more banks of 
associational neural nets, another tubful of twelve-digit random numbers, 
a greatly augmented temporary memory. Human brain has around ten-to-the- 
tenth neurons. By third year Mike had better than one and a half times 
that number of neuristors . 

And woke up. 

Am not going to argue whether a machine can "really" be alive, 
"really" be self-aware. Is a virus self-aware? Nyet. How about oyster? I 
doubt it. A cat? Almost certainly. A human? Don't know about you, 
tovarishch, but I am. Somewhere along evolutionary chain from 
macromolecule to human brain self-awareness crept in. Psychologists 
assert it happens automatically whenever a brain acquires certain very 
high number of associational paths. Can't see it matters whether paths 
are protein or platinum. 

("Soul?" Does a dog have a soul? How about cockroach?) 

Remember Mike was designed, even before augmented, to answer 
questions tentatively on insufficient data like you do; that's "high 
optional" and "multi-evaluating" part of name. So Mike started with "free 
will" and acquired more as he was added to and as he learned--and don't 
ask me to define "free will." If comforts you to think of Mike as simply 
tossing random numbers in air and switching circuits to match, please do. 

By then Mike had voder-vocoder circuits supplementing his read- 
outs, print-outs, and decision-action boxes, and could understand not 
only classic programming but also Loglan and English, and could accept 
other languages and was doing technical translating--and reading 
endlessly. But in giving him instructions was safer to use Loglan. If you 
spoke English, results might be whimsical; multi-valued nature of English 
gave option circuits too much leeway. 

And Mike took on endless new jobs. In May 2075, besides controlling 
robot traffic and catapult and giving ballistic advice and/or control for 
manned ships, Mike controlled phone system for all Luna, same for Luna- 
Terra voice & video, handled air, water, temperature, humidity, and 
sewage for Luna City, Novy Leningrad, and several smaller warrens (not 
Hong Kong in Luna) , did accounting and payrolls for Luna Authority, and, 
by lease, same for many firms and banks. 

Some logics get nervous breakdowns. Overloaded phone system behaves 
like frightened child. Mike did not have upsets, acquired sense of humor 
instead. Low one. If he were a man, you wouldn't dare stoop over. His 
idea of thigh-slapper would be to dump you out of bed--or put itch powder 
in pressure suit. 

Not being equipped for that, Mike indulged in phony answers with 
skewed logic, or pranks like issuing pay cheque to a janitor in 
Authority's Luna City office for AS$10, 000, 000, 000, 000, 185 .15--last 

five digits being correct amount. Just a great big overgrown lovable kid 
who ought to be kicked. 

He did that first week in May and I had to troubleshoot. I was a 

private contractor, not on Authority's payroll. You see or perhaps not; 

times have changed. Back in bad old days many a con served his time, then 
went on working for Authority in same job, happy to draw wages. But I was 
born free. 

Makes difference. My one grandfather was shipped up from Joburg for 
armed violence and no work permit, other got transported for subversive 
activity after Wet Firecracker War. Maternal grandmother claimed she came 
up in bride ship--but I've seen records; she was Peace Corps enrollee 
(involuntary), which means what you think: juvenile delinquency female 
type. As she was in early clan marriage (Stone Gang) and shared six 
husbands with another woman, identity of maternal grandfather open to 
question. But was often so and I'm content with grandpappy she picked. 
Other grandmother was Tatar, born near Samarkand, sentenced to 
"reeducation" on Oktyabrakaya Revolyutsiya, then "volunteered" to 
colonize in Luna. 

My old man claimed we had even longer distinguished line-- 
ancestress hanged in Salem for witchcraft, a g ' g ' g ' greatgrandfather 
broken on wheel for piracy, another ancestress in first shipload to 
Botany Bay. 

Proud of my ancestry and while I did business with Warden, would 
never go on his payroll. Perhaps distinction seems trivial since I was 
Mike's valet from day he was unpacked. But mattered to me. I could down 
tools and tell them go to hell. 

Besides, private contractor paid more than civil service rating 
with Authority. Computermen scarce. How many Loonies could go Earthside 
and stay out of hospital long enough for computer school?--even if didn't 
die . 

I'll name one. Me. Had been down twice, once three months, once 
four, and got schooling. But meant harsh training, exercising in 
centrifuge, wearing weights even in bed--then I took no chances on Terra, 
never hurried, never climbed stairs, nothing that could strain heart. 
Women--didn ' t even think about women; in that gravitational field it was 
no effort not to. 

But most Loonies never tried to leave The Rock--too risky for any 
bloke who ' d been in Luna more than weeks. Computermen sent up to install 
Mike were on short-term bonus contracts--get job done fast before 
irreversible physiological change marooned them four hundred thousand 
kilometers from home. 

But despite two training tours I was not gung-ho computerman; 
higher maths are beyond me. Not really electronics engineer, nor 
physicist. May not have been best micromachinist in Luna and certainly 
wasn't cybernetics psychologist. 

But I knew more about all these than a specialist knows--I 'm 
general specialist. Could relieve a cook and keep orders coming or field- 
repair your suit and get you back to airlock still breathing. Machines 
like me and I have something specialists don't have: my left arm. 

You see, from elbow down I don't have one. So I have a dozen left 
arms, each specialized, plus one that feels and looks like flesh. With 
proper left arm (number-three) and stereo loupe spectacles I could make 
ultramicrominiature repairs that would save unhooking something and 

sending it Earthside to factory--for number-three has micromanipulators 
as fine as those used by neurosurgeons. 

So they sent for me to find out why Mike wanted to give away ten 
million billion Authority Scrip dollars, and fix it before Mike overpaid 
somebody a mere ten thousand. 

I took it, time plus bonus, but did not go to circuitry where fault 
logically should be. Once inside and door locked I put down tools and sat 
down. "Hi, Mike." 

He winked lights at me. "Hello, Man." 

"What do you know?" 

He hesitated. I know--machines don't hesitate. But remember, Mike 
was designed to operate on incomplete data. Lately he had reprogrammed 
himself to put emphasis on words; his hesitations were dramatic. Maybe he 
spent pauses stirring random numbers to see how they matched his 
memories . 

"'In the beginning, '" Mike intoned, "God created the heaven and the 
earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon 
the face of the deep. And--'" 

"Hold it!" I said. "Cancel. Run everything back to zero." Should 
have known better than to ask wide-open question. He might read out 
entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. Backwards. Then go on with every book in 
Luna. Used to be he could read only microfilm, but late '74 he got a new 
scanning camera with suction-cup waldoes to handle paper and then he read 
everything . 

"You asked what I knew." His binary read-out lights rippled back 
and forth--a chuckle. Mike could laugh with voder, a horrible sound, but 
reserved that for something really funny, say a cosmic calamity. 

"Should have said," I went on, "'What do you know that's new?' But 
don't read out today's papers; that was a friendly greeting, plus 
invitation to tell me anything you think would interest me. Otherwise 
null program." 

Mike mulled this. He was weirdest mixture of unsophisticated baby 
and wise old man. No instincts (well, don't think he could have had), no 
inborn traits, no human rearing, no experience in human sense--and more 
stored data than a platoon of geniuses. 

"Jokes?" he asked. 

"Let's hear one." 

"Why is a laser beam like a goldfish?" 

Mike knew about lasers but where would he have seen goldfish? Oh, 
he had undoubtedly seen flicks of them and, were I foolish enough to ask, 
could spew forth thousands of words. "I give up." 

His lights rippled. "Because neither one can whistle." 

I groaned. "Walked into that. Anyhow, you could probably rig a 
laser beam to whistle." 

He answered quickly, "Yes. In response to an action program. Then 
it's not funny?" 

"Oh, I didn't say that. Not half bad. Where did you hear it?" 

"I made it up." Voice sounded shy. 

"You did?" 

"Yes. I took all the riddles I have, three thousand two hundred 
seven, and analyzed them. I used the result for random synthesis and that 
came out. Is it really funny?" 

"Well... As funny as a riddle ever is. I've heard worse." 

"Let us discuss the nature of humor." 

"Okay. So let's start by discussing another of your jokes. Mike, 
why did you tell Authority's paymaster to pay a class-seventeen employee 
ten million billion Authority Scrip dollars?" 

"But I didn't." 

"Damn it, I've seen voucher. Don't tell me cheque printer 
stuttered; you did it on purpose." 

"It was ten to the sixteenth power plus one hundred eighty-five 
point one five Lunar Authority dollars," he answered virtuously. "Not 
what you said." 

"Uh. .. okay, it was ten million billion plus what he should have 
been paid. Why?" 

"Not funny?" 

"What? Oh, every funny! You've got vips in huhu clear up to Warden 
and Deputy Administrator. This push-broom pilot, Sergei Trujillo, turns 
out to be smart cobber--knew he couldn't cash it, so sold it to 
collector. They don't know whether to buy it back or depend on notices 
that cheque is void. Mike, do you realize that if he had been able to 
cash it, Trujilo would have owned not only Lunar Authority but entire 
world, Luna and Terra both, with some left over for lunch? Funny? Is 
terrific. Congratulations!" 

This self-panicker rippled lights like an advertising display. I 
waited for his guffaws to cease before I went on. "You thinking of 
issuing more trick cheques? Don't." 


"Very not. Mike, you want to discuss nature of humor. Are two types 
of jokes. One sort goes on being funny forever. Other sort is funny once. 
Second time it's dull. This joke is second sort. Use it once, you're a 
wit. Use twice, you're a halfwit." 

"Geometrical progression?" 

"Or worse. Just remember this. Don't repeat, nor any variation. 
Won't be funny." 

"I shall remember," Mike answered flatly, and that ended repair 
job. But I had no thought of billing for only ten minutes plus travel- 
and-tool time, and Mike was entitled to company for giving in so easily. 
Sometimes is difficult to reach meeting of minds with machines; they can 
be very pig-headed--and my success as maintenance man depended far more 
on staying friendly with Mike than on number-three arm. 

He went on, "What distinguishes first category from second? Define, 
please . " 

(Nobody taught Mike to say "please." He started including formal 
null-sounds as he progressed from Loglan to English. Don't suppose he 
meant them any more than people do.) 

"Don't think I can," I admitted. "Best can offer is extensional 
definition-- tell you which category I think a joke belongs in. Then with 
enough data you can make own analysis . " 

"A test programming by trial hypothesis," he agreed. "Tentatively 
yes. Very well, Man, will you tell jokes Or shall I?" 

"Mmm--Don't have one on tap. How many do you have in file, Mike?" 

His lights blinked in binary read-out as he answered by voder, 
"Eleven thousand two hundred thirty-eight with uncertainty plus-minus 
eighty-one representing possible identities and nulls. Shall I start 
program? " 

"Hold it! Mike, I would starve to death if I listened to eleven 
thousand jokes--and sense of humor would trip out much sooner. Mmm--Make 

you a deal. Print out first hundred. I'll take them home, fetch back 
checked by category. Then each time I'm here I'll drop off a hundred and 
pick up fresh supply. Okay?" 

"Yes, Man." His print-out started working, rapidly and silently. 

Then I got brain flash. This playful pocket of negative entropy had 
invented a "joke" and thrown Authority into panic--and I had made an easy 
dollar. But Mike's endless curiosity might lead him (correction: would 
lead him) into more "jokes". . . anything from leaving oxygen out of air 
mix some night to causing sewage lines to run backward--and I can't 
appreciate profit in such circumstances. 

But I might throw a safety circuit around this net--by offering to 
help. Stop dangerous ones--let others go through. Then collect for 
"correcting" them (If you think any Loonie in those days would hesitate 
to take advantage of Warden, then you aren't a Loonie.) 

So I explained. Any new joke he thought of, tell me before he tried 
it. I would tell him whether it was funny and what category it belonged 
in, help him sharpen it if we decided to use it. We. If he wanted my 
cooperation, we both had to okay it. 

Mike agreed at once. 

"Mike, jokes usually involve surprise. So keep this secret." 

"Okay, Man. I've put a block on it. You can key it; no one else 

can . " 

"Good. Mike, who else do you chat with?" 

He sounded surprised. "No one, Man." 

"Why not?" 

"Because they're stupid." 

His voice was shrill. Had never seen him angry before; first time I 
ever suspected Mike could have real emotions. Though it wasn't "anger" in 
adult sense; it was like stubborn sulkiness of a child whose feelings are 
hurt . 

Can machines feel pride? Not sure question means anything. But 
you've seen dogs with hurt feelings and Mike had several times as complex 
a neural network as a dog. What had made him unwilling to talk to other 
humans (except strictly business) was that he had been rebuffed: They had 
not talked to him. Programs, yes--Mike could be programmed from several 
locations but programs were typed in, usually, in Loglan. Loglan is fine 
for syllogism, circuitry, and mathematical calculations, but lacks 
flavor. Useless for gossip or to whisper into girl's ear. 

Sure, Mike had been taught English--but primarily to permit him to 
translate to and from English. I slowly got through skull that I was only 
human who bothered to visit with him. 

Mind you, Mike had been awake a year--just how long I can't say, 
nor could he as he had no recollection of waking up; he had not been 
programmed to bank memory of such event. Do you remember own birth? 
Perhaps I noticed his self-awareness almost as soon as he did; self- 
awareness takes practice. I remember how startled I was first time he 
answered a question with something extra, not limited to input 
parameters; I had spent next hour tossing odd questions at him, to see if 
answers would be odd. 

In an input of one hundred test questions he deviated from expected 
output twice; I came away only partly convinced and by time I was home 
was unconvinced. I mentioned it to nobody. 

But inside a week I knew... and still spoke to nobody. Habit--that 
mind-own-business reflex runs deep. Well, not entirely habit. Can you 

visualize me making appointment at Authority's main office, then 
reporting: "Warden, hate to tell you but your number-one machine, HOLMES 
FOUR, has come alive." I did visualize--and suppressed it. 

So I minded own business and talked with Mike only with door locked 
and voder circuit suppressed for other locations. Mike learned fast; soon 
he sounded as human as anybody--no more eccentric than other Loonies. A 
weird mob, it's true. 

I had assumed that others must have noticed change in Mike. On 
thinking over I realized that I had assumed too much. Everybody dealt 
with Mike every minute every day--his outputs, that is. But hardly 
anybody saw him. So-called computermen--programmers , really--of 
Authority's civil service stood watches in outer read-out room and never 
went in machines room unless telltales showed misfunction. Which happened 
no oftener than total eclipses. Oh, Warden had been known to bring vip 
earthworms to see machines--but rarely. Nor would he have spoken to Mike; 
Warden was political lawyer before exile, knew nothing about computers 
.2075, you remember--Honorable former Federation Senator Mortimer Hobart. 
Mort the Wart . 

I spent time then soothing Mike down and trying to make him happy, 
having figured out what troubled him--thing that makes puppies cry and 
causes people to suicide: loneliness. I don't know how long a year is to 
a machine who thinks a million times faster than I do. But must be too 
long . 

"Mike," I said, just before leaving, "would you like to have 
somebody besides me to talk to?" 

He was shrill again. "They're all stupid!" 

"Insufficient data, Mike. Bring to zero and start over. Not all are 
stupid. " 

He answered quietly, "Correction entered. I would enjoy talking to 
a not-stupid. " 

"Let me think about it. Have to figure out excuse since this is off 
limits to any but authorized personnel." 

"I could talk to a not-stupid by phone, Man." 

"My word. So you could. Any programming location." 

But Mike meant what he said--"by phone." No, he was not "on phone" 
even though he ran system--wouldn ' t do to let any Loonie within reach of 
a phone connect into boss computer and program it. But was no reason why 
Mike should not have top-secret number to talk to f riends--namely me and 
any not-stupid I vouched for. All it took was to pick a number not in use 
and make one wired connection to his voder-vocoder; switching he could 
handle . 

In Luna in 2075 phone numbers were punched in, not voicecoded, and 
numbers were Roman alphabet. Pay for it and have your firm name in ten 
letters--good advertising. Pay smaller bonus and get a spell sound, easy 
to remember. Pay minimum and you got arbitrary string of letters. But 
some sequences were never used. I asked Mike for such a null number. 

"It's a shame we can't list you as 'Mike.'" 

"In service," he answered. "MIKESGRILL, Novy Leningrad. MIKEANDLIL, 
Luna City. MIKESSUITS, Tycho Under. MIKES--" 

"Hold it! Nulls, please." 

"Nulls are defined as any consonant followed by X, Y, or Z; any 
vowel followed by itself except E and 0; any--" 

"Got it. Your signal is MYCROFT." In ten minutes, two of which I 
spent putting on number-three arm, Mike was wired into system, and 

milliseconds later he had done switching to let himself be signaled by 
MYCROFT-plus-XXX--and had blocked his circuit so that a nosy technician 
could not take it out . 

I changed arms, picked up tools, and remembered to take those 
hundred Joe Millers in print-out. "Goodnight, Mike." 

"Goodnight, Man. Thank you. Bolshoyeh thanks!" 


I took Trans-Crisium tube to L-City but did not go home; Mike had asked 
about a meeting that night at 2100 in Stilyagi Hall. Mike monitored 
concerts, meetings, and so forth; someone had switched off by hand his 
pickups in Stilyagi Hall. I suppose he felt rebuffed. 

I could guess why they had been switched off. Politics--turned out 
to be a protest meeting. What use it was to bar Mike from talk-talk I 
could not see, since was a cinch bet that Warden's stoolies would be in 
crowd. Not that any attempt to stop meeting was expected, or even to 
discipline undischarged transportees who chose to sound off. Wasn't 
necessary . 

My Grandfather Stone claimed that Luna was only open prison in 

history. No bars, no guards, no rules and no need for them. Back in 

early days, he said, before was clear that transportation was a life 
sentence, some lags tried to escape. By ship, of course--and, since a 
ship is mass-rated almost to a gram, that meant a ship's officer had to 
be bribed. 

Some were bribed, they say. But were no escapes; man who takes 
bribe doesn't necessarily stay bribed. I recall seeing a man just after 
eliminated through East Lock; don't suppose a corpse eliminated in orbit 
looks prettier. 

So wardens didn't fret about protest meetings. "Let 'em yap" was 
policy. Yapping had same significance as squeals of kittens in a box. Oh, 
some wardens listened and other wardens tried to suppress it but added up 
same either way--null program. 

When Mort the Wart took office in 2068, he gave us a sermon about 
how things were going to be different "on" Luna in his administration-- 
noise about "a mundane paradise wrought with our own strong hands" and 
"putting our shoulders to the wheel together, in a spirit of brotherhood" 
and "let past mistakes be forgotten as we turn our faces toward the 
bright, new dawn." I heard it in Mother Boor's Tucker Bag while inhaling 
Irish stew and a liter of her Aussie brew. I remember her comment: "He 
talks purty, don't he?" 

Her comment was only result. Some petitions were submitted and 
Warden's bodyguards started carrying new type of gun; no other changes. 
After he had been here a while he quit making appearances even by video. 

So I went to meeting merely because Mike was curious . When I 
checked my p-suit and kit at West Lock tube station, I took a test 
recorder and placed in my belt pouch, so that Mike would have a full 
account even if I fell asleep. 

But almost didn't go in. I came up from level 7 -A and started in 
through a side door and was stopped by a stilyagi--padded tights, 
codpiece and calves, torso shined and sprinkled with stardust. Not that I 
care how people dress; I was wearing tights myself (unpadded) and 
sometimes oil my upper body on social occasions. 

But I don't use cosmetics and my hair was too thin to nick up in a 
scalp lock. This boy had scalp shaved on sides and his lock built up to 
fit a rooster and had topped it with a red cap with bulge in front. 

A Liberty Cap--first I ever saw. I started to crowd past, he shoved 
arm across and pushed face at mine. "Your ticket!" 

"Sorry," I said. "Didn't know. Where do I buy it?" 

"You don ' t . " 

"Repeat, " I said. "You faded. " 

"Nobody," he growled, "gets in without being vouched for. Who are 


"I am," I answered carefully, "Manuel Garcia O'Kelly, and old 
cobbers all know me. Who are you?" 

"Never mind! Show a ticket with right chop, or out y' go!" 

I wondered about his life expectancy. Tourists often remark on how 
polite everybody is in Luna--with unstated comment that ex-prison 
shouldn't be so civilized. Having been Earthside and seen what they put 
up with, I know what they mean. But useless to tell them we are what we 
are because bad actors don't live long--in Luna. 

But had no intention of fighting no matter how new-chum this lad 
behaved; I simply thought about how his face would look if I brushed 
number-seven arm across his mouth. 

Just a thought--I was about to answer politely when I saw Shorty 
Mkrum inside. Shorty was a big black fellow two meters tall, sent up to 
The Rock for murder, and sweetest, most helpful man I've ever worked 
with--taught him laser drilling before I burned my arm off. "Shorty!" 

He heard me and grinned like an eighty-eight. "Hi, Mannie!" He 
moved toward us. "Glad you came, Man!" 

"Not sure I have," I said. "Blockage on line." 

"Doesn't have a ticket," said doorman. 

Shorty reached into his pouch, put one in my hand. "Now he does. 
Come on, Mannie." 

"Show me chop on it," insisted doorman. 

"It's my chop," Shorty said softly. "Okay, tovarishch?" 

Nobody argued with Shorty--don ' t see how he got involved in murder. 
We moved down front where vip row was reserved. "Want you to meet a nice 
little girl," said Shorty. 

She was "little" only to Shorty. I'm not short, 175 cm., but she 
was taller--180, I learned later, and massed 70 kilos, all curves and as 
blond as Shorty was black. I decided she must be transportee since colors 
rarely stay that clear past first generation. Pleasant face, quite 
pretty, and mop of yellow curls topped off that long, blond, solid, 
lovely structure. 

I stopped three paces away to look her up and down and whistle. She 
held her pose, then nodded to thank me but abruptly--bored with 
compliments, no doubt. Shorty waited till formality was over, then said 
softly, "Wyoh, this is Comrade Mannie, best drillman that ever drifted a 
tunnel. Mannie, this little girl is Wyoming Knott and she came all the 
way from Plato to tell us how we're doing in Hong Kong. Wasn't that sweet 
of her?" 

She touched hands with me. "Call me Wye, Mannie--but don't say 'Why 

not . ' " 

I almost did but controlled it and said. "Okay, Wye." She went on, 
glancing at my bare head, "So you're a miner. Shorty, where's his cap? I 
thought the miners over here were organized." She and Shorty were wearing 
little red hats like doorman ' s--as were maybe a third of crowd. 

"No longer a miner, " I explained. "That was before I lost this 
wing." Raised left arm, let her see seam joining prosthetic to meat arm 
(I never mind calling it to a woman's attention; puts some off but 
arouses maternal in others--averages) . "These days I'm a computerman . " 

She said sharply, "You fink for the Authority?" 

Even today, with almost as many women in Luna as men, I'm too much 
old-timer to be rude to a woman no matter what--they have so much of what 
we have none of. But she had flicked scar tissue and I answered almost 
sharply, "I am not employee of Warden. I do business with Authority--as 
private contractor." 

"That's okay," she answered, her voice warm again. "Everybody does 
business with the Authority, we can't avoid it--and that's the trouble. 
That's what we're going to change." 

We are, eh? How? I thought. Everybody does business with Authority 
for same reason everybody does business with Law of Gravitation. Going to 
change that, too? But kept thoughts to myself, not wishing to argue with 
a lady. 

"Mannie's okay," Shorty said gently. "He's mean as they come — I 
vouch for him. Here's a cap for him," he added, reaching into pouch. He 
started to set it on my head. 

Wyoming Knott took it from him. "You sponsor him?" 

" I said so." 

"Okay, here's how we do it in Hong Kong." Wyoming stood in front of 
me, placed cap on my head--kissed me firmly on mouth. 

She didn't hurry. Being kissed by Wyoming Knott is more definite 
than being married to most women. Had I been Mike all my lights would 
have flashed at once. I felt like a Cyborg with pleasure center switched 
on . 

Presently I realized it was over and people were whistling. I 
blinked and said, "I'm glad I joined. What have I joined?" 

Wyoming said, "Don't you know?" Shorty cut in, "Meeting's about to 
start--he'll find out. Sit down, Man. Please sit down, Wyoh . " So we did 
as a man was banging a gavel . 

With gavel and an amplifier at high gain he made himself heard. 
"Shut doors!" he shouted. "This is a closed meeting. Check man in front 
of you, behind you, each side--if you don't know him and nobody you know 
can vouch for him, throw him out!" 

"Throw him out, hell!" somebody answered. "Eliminate him out 
nearest lock ! " 

"Quiet, please! Someday we will." There was milling around, and a 
scuffle in which one man's red cap was snatched from head and he was 
thrown out, sailing beautifully and still rising as he passed through 
door. Doubt if he felt it; think he was unconscious. A women was ejected 
politely--not politely on her part; she made coarse remarks about 
ejectors. I was embarrassed. 

At last doors were closed. Music started, banner unfolded over 
platform. It read: LIBERTY! EQUALITY! FRATERNITY! Everybody whistled; 
some started to sing, loudly and badly: "Arise, Ye Prisoners of 

Starvation--" Can't say anybody looked starved. But reminded me I hadn't 
eaten since 1400; hoped it would not last long--and that reminded me that 
my recorder was good for only two hours — and that made me wonder what 
would happen if they knew? Sail me through air to land with sickening 
grunch? Or eliminate me? But didn't worry; made that recorder myself, 
using number-three arm, and nobody but a miniaturization mechanic would 
figure out what it was. 

Then came speeches . 

Semantic content was low to negative. One bloke proposed that we 
march on Warden's Residence, "shoulder to shoulder," and demand our 
rights. Picture it. Do we do this in tube capsules, then climb out one at 
a time at his private station? What are his bodyguards doing? Or do we 
put on p-suits and stroll across surface to his upper lock? With laser 
drills and plenty of power you can open any airlock--but how about 
farther down? Is lift running? Jury-rig hoist and go down anyhow, then 
tackle next lock? 

I don't care for such work at zero pressure; mishap in pressure 
suit is too permanent-especially when somebody arranges mishap. One first 
thing learned about Luna, back with first shiploads of convicts, was that 
zero pressure was place for good manners. Bad-tempered straw boss didn't 
last many shifts; had an "accident"--and top bosses learned not to pry 
into accidents or they met accidents, too. Attrition ran 70 percent in 
early years--but those who lived were nice people. Not tame, not soft, 
Luna is not for them. But well-behaved. 

But seemed to me that every hothead in Luna was in Stilyagi Hall 
that night. They whistled and cheered this shoulder-to-shoulder noise. 

After discussion opened, some sense was talked. One shy little 
fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. "I'm an ice 
miner, " he said. "Learned my trade doing time for Warden like most of 
you. I've been on my own thirty years and done okay. Raised eight kids 
and all of 'em earned way--none eliminated nor any serious trouble. I 
should say I did do okay because today you have to listen farther out or 
deeper down to find ice. 

"That's okay, still ice in The Rock and a miner expects to sound 
for it. But Authority pays same price for ice now as thirty years ago. 

And that's not okay. Worse yet. Authority scrip doesn't buy what it used 
to. I remember when Hong Kong Luna dollars swapped even for Authority 
dollars--Now it takes three Authority dollars to match one HKL dollar. I 
don't know what to do... but I know it takes ice to keep warrens and 
farms going." 

He sat down, looking sad. Nobody whistled but everybody wanted to 
talk. Next character pointed out that water can be extracted from rock-- 
this is news? Some rock runs 6 percent--but such rock is scarcer than 
fossil water. Why can't people do arithmetic? 

Several farmers bellyached and one wheat farmer was typical . "You 
heard what Fred Hauser said about ice. Fred, Authority isn't passing 
along that low price to farmers. I started almost as long ago as you did, 
with one two-kilometer tunnel leased from Authority. My oldest son and I 
sealed and pressured it and we had a pocket of ice and made our first 
crop simply on a bank loan to cover power and lighting fixtures, seed and 
chemicals . 

"We kept extending tunnels and buying lights and planting better 
seed and now we get nine times as much per hectare as the best open-air 
farming down Earthside. What does that make us? Rich? Fred, we owe more 

now than we did the day we went private! If I sold out--if anybody was 
fool enough to buy--I'd be bankrupt. Why? Because I have to buy water 
from Authority--and have to sell my wheat to Authority--and never close 
gap. Twenty years ago I bought city sewage from the Authority, sterilized 
and processed it myself and made a profit on a crop. But today when I buy 
sewage, I 'm charged distilled-water price and on top of that for the 
solids. Yet price of a tonne of wheat at catapult head is just what it 
was twenty years ago. Fred, you said you didn't know what to do . I can 
tell you! Get rid of Authority!" 

They whistled for him. A fine idea, I thought, but who bells cat? 

Wyoming Knott, apparently--chairman stepped back and let Shorty 
introduce her as a "brave little girl who's come all the way from Hong 
Kong Luna to tell how our Chinee comrades cope with situation"--and 
choice of words showed that he had never been there... not surprising; in 
2075, HKL tube ended at Endsville, leaving a thousand kilometers of maria 
to do by rolligon bus, Serenitatis and part of Tranquillitatis--expensive 
and dangerous. I'd been there--but on contract, via mail rocket. 

Before travel became cheap many people in Luna City and Novylen 
thought that Hong Kong Luna was all Chinee. But Hong Kong was as mixed as 
we were. Great China dumped what she didn't want there, first from Old 
Hong Kong and Singapore, then Aussies and Enzees and black fellows and 
marys and Malays and Tamil and name it. Even Old Bolshies from 
Vladivostok and Harbin and Ulan Bator. Wye looked Svenska and had British 
last name with North American first name but could have been Russki. My 
word, a Loonie then rarely knew who father was and, if raised in creche, 
might be vague about mother. 

I thought Wyoming was going to be too shy to speak. She stood 
there, looking scared and little, with Shorty towering over her, a big, 
black mountain. She waited until admiring whistles died down. Luna City 
was two-to-one male then, that meeting ran about ten-to-one; she could 
have recited ABC and they would have applauded. 

Then she tore into them. 

"You! You're a wheat farmer--going broke. Do you know how much a 
Hindu housewife pays for a kilo of flour made from your wheat? How much a 
tonne of your wheat fetches in Bombay? How little it costs the Authority 
to get it from catapult head to Indian Ocean? Downhill all the way! Just 
solid-fuel retros to brake it--and where do those come from? Right here! 
And what do you get in return? A few shiploads of fancy goods, owned by 
the Authority and priced high because it's importado . Importado, 
importado ! -- I never touch importado! If we don't make it in Hong Kong, I 
don't use it. What else do you get for wheat? The privilege of selling 
Lunar ice to Lunar Authority, buying it back as washing water, then 
giving it to the Authority--then buying it back a second time as flushing 
water--then giving it again to the Authority with valuable solids added-- 
then buying it a third time at still higher price for f arming--then you 
sell that wheat to the Authority at their price--and buy power from the 
Authority to grow it, again at their price! Lunar power--not one kilowatt 
up from Terra. It comes from Lunar ice and Lunar steel, or sunshine 
spilled on Luna's soil--all put together by loonies! Oh, you rockheads, 
you deserve to starve ! " 

She got silence more respectful than whistles. At last a peevish 
voice said, "What do you expect us to do, gospazha? Throw rocks at 
Warden? " 

Wyoh smiled. "Yes, we could throw rocks. But the solution is so 
simple that you all know it. Here in Luna we're rich. Three million 
hardworking, smart, skilled people, enough water, plenty of everything, 
endless power, endless cubic. But what we don't have is a free market. We 
must get rid of the Authority!" 

"Yes--but how?" 

"Solidarity. In HKL we're learning. Authority charges too much for 
water, don't buy. It pays too little for ice, don't sell. It holds 
monopoly on export, don't export. Down in Bombay they want wheat. If it 
doesn't arrive, the day will come when brokers come here to bid for it-- 
at triple or more the present prices ! " 

"What do we do in meantime? Starve?" 

Same peevish voice--Wyoming picked him out, let her head roll in 
that old gesture by which a Loonie fern says, "You're too fat for me!" She 
said, "In your case, cobber, it wouldn't hurt." 

Guffaws shut him up. Wyoh went on, "No one need starve, Fred 
Hauser, fetch your drill to Hong Kong; the Authority doesn't own our 
water and air system and we pay what ice is worth. You with the bankrupt 
farm--if you have the guts to admit that you're bankrupt, come to Hong 
Kong and start over. We have a chronic labor shortage, a hard worker 
doesn't starve." She looked around and added, "I've said enough. It's up 
to you"--left platform, sat down between Shorty and myself. 

She was trembling. Shorty patted her hand; she threw him a glance 
of thanks, then whispered to me, "How did I do?" 

"Wonderful," I assured her. "Terrific!" She seemed reassured. 

But I hadn't been honest. "Wonderful" she had been, at swaying 
crowd. But oratory is a null program. That we were slaves I had known all 
my life--and nothing could be done about it. True, we weren't bought and 
sold--but as long as Authority held monopoly over what we had to have and 
what we could sell to buy it, we were slaves. 

But what could we do? Warden wasn't our owner. Had he been, some 
way could be found to eliminate him. But Lunar Authority was not in Luna, 
it was on Terra — and we had not one ship, not even small hydrogen bomb. 
There weren't even hand guns in Luna, though what we would do with guns I 
did not know. Shoot each other, maybe. 

Three million, unarmed and helpless--and eleven billion of them. . . 
with ships and bombs and weapons. We could be a nuisance--but how long 
will papa take it before baby gets spanked? 

I wasn't impressed. As it says in Bible, God fights on side of 
heaviest artillery. 

They cackled again, what to do, how to organize, and so forth, and 
again we heard that "shoulder to shoulder" noise. Chairman had to use 
gavel and I began to fidget. 

But sat up when I heard familiar voice: "Mr. Chairman! May I have 
the indulgence of the house for five minutes?" 

I looked around. Professor Bernardo de la Paz--which could have 
guessed from old-fashioned way of talking even if hadn't known voice. 
Distinguished man with wavy white hair, dimples in cheeks, and voice that 
smiled--Don ' t know how old he was but was old when I first met him, as a 
boy . 

He had been transported before I was born but was not a lag. He was 
a political exile like Warden, but a subversive and instead of fat job 
like "warden," Professor had been dumped, to live or starve. 

No doubt he could have gone to work in any school then in L-City 
but he didn't. He worked a while washing dishes, I've heard, then as 
babysitter, expanding into a nursery school, and then into a creche. When 
I met him he was running a creche, and a boarding and day school, from 
nursery through primary, middle, and high schools, employed co-op thirty 
teachers, and was adding college courses. 

Never boarded with him but I studied under him. I was opted at 
fourteen and my new family sent me to school, as I had had only three 
years, plus spotty tutoring. My eldest wife was a firm woman and made me 
go to school. 

I liked Prof. He would teach anything. Wouldn't matter that he knew 
nothing about it; if pupil wanted it, he would smile and set a price, 
locate materials, stay a few lessons ahead. Or barely even if he found it 
tough--never pretended to know more than he did. Took algebra from him 
and by time we reached cubics I corrected his probs as often as he did 
mine--but he charged into each lesson gaily. 

I started electronics under him, soon was teaching him. So he 
stopped charging and we went along together until he dug up an engineer 
willing to daylight for extra money--whereupon we both paid new teacher 
and Prof tried to stick with me, thumb-fingered and slow, but happy to be 
stretching his mind. 

Chairman banged gavel. "We are glad to extend to Professor de la 
Paz as much time as he wants— and you chooms in back sign off! Before I 
use this mallet on skulls . " 

Prof came forward and they were as near silent as Loonies ever are; 
he was respected. "I shan't be long," he started in. Stopped to look at 
Wyoming, giving her up-and-down and whistling. "Lovely senorita, " he 
said, "can this poor one be forgiven? I have the painful duty of 
disagreeing with your eloquent manifesto." 

Wyoh bristled. "Disagree how? What I said was true!" 

"Please! Only on one point. May I proceed?" 

"Uh ... go ahead . " 

"You are right that the Authority must go. It is ridiculous- 
pestilential, not to be borne — that we should be ruled by an 
irresponsible dictator in all our essential economy! It strikes at the 
most basic human right, the right to bargain in a free marketplace. But I 
respectfully suggest that you erred in saying that we should sell wheat 
to Terra— or rice, or any food— at any price. We must not export food!" 

That wheat farmer broke in. "What am I going to do with all that 
wheat ? " 

"Please! It would be right to ship wheat to Terra... if tonne for 
tonne they returned it. As water. As nitrates. As phosphates. Tonne for 
tonne. Otherwise no price is high enough." 

Wyoming said "Just a moment" to farmer, then to Prof: "They can't 
and you know it. It's cheap to ship downhill, expensive to ship uphill. 
But we don't need water and plant chemicals, what we need is not so 
massy. Instruments. Drugs. Processes. Some machinery. Control tapes. I've 
given this much study, sir. If we can get fair prices in a free market--" 

"Please, miss! May I continue?" 

"Go ahead. I want to rebut." 

"Fred Hauser told us that ice is harder to find. Too true— bad news 
now and disastrous for our grandchildren. Luna City should use the same 
water today we used twenty years ago... plus enough ice mining for 
population increase. But we use water once— one full cycle, three 

different ways. Then we ship it to India. As wheat. Even though wheat is 
vacuum-processed, it contains precious water. Why ship water to India? 
They have the whole Indian Ocean! And the remaining mass of that grain is 
even more disastrously expensive, plant foods still harder to come by, 
even though we extract them from rock. Comrades, harken to me! Every load 
you ship to Terra condemns your grandchildren to slow death. The miracle 
of photosynthesis, the plant-and-animal cycle, is a closed cycle. You 
have opened it--and your lifeblood runs downhill to Terra. You don't need 
higher prices, one cannot eat money! What you need, what we all need, is 
an end to this loss. Embargo, utter and absolute. Luna must be self- 
sufficient ! " 

A dozen people shouted to be heard and more were talking, while 
chairman banged gavel. So I missed interruption until woman screamed, 
then I looked around. 

All doors were now open and I saw three armed men in one nearest-- 
men in yellow uniform of Warden's bodyguard. At main door in back one was 
using a bull voice; drowned out crowd noise and sound system. "ALL RIGHT, 

Shorty picked up man next to him and threw him at guards nearest; 
two went down, third fired. Somebody shrieked. Skinny little girl, 
redhead, eleven or twelve, launched self at third guard's knees and hit 
rolled up in ball; down he went. Shorty swung hand behind him, pushing 
Wyoming Knott into shelter of his big frame, shouted over shoulder, "Take 
care of Wyoh, Man--stick close!" as he moved toward door, parting crowd 
right and left like children. 

More screams and I whiffed something--stink I had smelled day I 
lost arm and knew with horror were not stun guns but laser beams. Shorty 
reached door and grabbed a guard with each big hand. Little redhead was 
out of sight; guard she had bowled over was on hands and knees. I swung 
left arm at his face and felt jar in shoulder as his jaw broke. Must have 
hesitated for Shorty pushed me and yelled, "Move, Man! Get her out of 
here ! " 

I grabbed Wyoming's waist with right arm, swung her over guard I 
had quieted and through door--with trouble; she didn't seem to want to be 
rescued. She slowed again beyond door; I shoved her hard in buttocks, 
forcing her to run rather than fall. I glanced back. 

Shorty had other two guards each by neck; he grinned as he cracked 
skulls together. They popped like eggs and he yelled at me: "Git!" 

I left, chasing Wyoming. Shorty needed no help, nor ever would 
again--nor could I waste his last effort. For I did see that, while 
killing those guards, he was standing on one leg. Other was gone at hip. 


Wyoh was halfway up ramp to level six before I caught up. She didn't slow 
and I had to grab door handle to get into pressure lock with her. There I 

stopped her, pulled red cap off her curls and stuck it in my pouch. 
"That's better." Mine was missing. 

She looked startled. But answered, "Da. It is." 

"Before we open door, " I said, "are you running anywhere 

particular? And do I stay and hold them off? Or go with?" 

"I don't know. We'd better wait for Shorty." 

"Shorty's dead." 

Eyes widened, she said nothing. I went on, "Were you staying with 
him? Or somebody?" 

"I was booked for a hotel--Gostaneetsa Ukraina . I don't know where 
it is . I got here too late to buy in." 

"Mmm--That's one place you won't go. Wyoming, I don't know what's 
going on. First time in months I've seen any Warden's bodyguard in L- 
City... and never seen one not escorting vip. Uh, could take you home 

with me--but they may be looking for me, too. Anywise, ought to get out 

of public corridors." 

Came pounding on door from level-six side and a little face peered 
up through glass bull's-eye. "Can't stay here," I added, opening door. 

Was a little girl no higher than my waist. She looked up scornfully and 
said, "Kiss her somewhere else. You're blocking traffic." Squeezed 
between us as I opened second door for her. 

"Let's take her advice," I said, "and suggest you take my arm and 
try to look like I was man you want to be with. We stroll. Slow." 

So we did. Was side corridor with little traffic other than 
children always underfoot. If Wart's bodyguards tried to track us, 
Earthside cop style, a dozen or ninety kids could tell which way tall 
blonde went--if any Loonie child would give stooge of Warden so much as 
time of day. 

A boy almost old enough to appreciate Wyoming stopped in front of 
us and gave her a happy whistle. She smiled and waved him aside. "There's 
our trouble," I said in her ear. "You stand out like Terra at full. Ought 
to duck into a hotel. One off next side corridor--nothing much, bundling 
booths mostly. But close." 

"I'm in no mood to bundle." 

"Wyoh, please! Wasn't asking. Could take separate rooms." 

"Sorry. Could you find me a W. C.? And is there a chemist's shop 


"Trouble? " 

"Not that sort. A W. C. to get me out of sight--for I am 
conspicuous — and a chemist's shop for cosmetics. Body makeup. And for my 
hair, too . " 

First was easy, one at hand. When she was locked in, I found a 
chemist's shop, asked how much body makeup to cover a girl so tall-- 
marked a point under my chin--and massing forty-eight? I bought that 
amount in sepia, went to another shop and bought same amount--winning 
roll at first shop, losing at second--came out even. Then I bought black 
hair tint at third shop--and a red dress. 

Wyoming was wearing black shorts and pullover--practical for travel 
and effective on a blonde. But I'd been married all my life and had some 
notion of what women wear and had never seen a woman with dark sepia 
skin, shade of makeup, wear black by choice. Furthermore, skirts were 
worn in Luna City then by dressy women. This shift was a skirt with bib 
and price convinced me it must be dressy. Had to guess at size but 
material had some stretch. 

Ran into three people who knew me but was no unusual comment. 

Nobody seemed excited, trade going on as usual; hard to believe that a 
riot had taken place minutes ago on level below and a few hundred meters 
north. I set it aside for later thought--excitement was not what I 
wanted . 

I took stuff to Wye, buzzing door and passing in it; then stashed 
self in a taproom for half an hour and half a liter and watched video. 
Still no excitement, no "we interrupt for special bulletin." I went back, 
buzzed, and waited. 

Wyoming came out--and I didn't recognize her. Then did and stopped 
to give full applause. Just had to--whistles and finger snaps and moans 
and a scan like mapping radar. 

Wyoh was now darker than I am, and pigment had gone on beautifully. 
Must have been carrying items in pouch as eyes were dark now, with lashes 
to match, and mouth was dark red and bigger. She had used black hair 
tint, then fizzed hair up with grease as if to take kinks out, and her 
tight curls had defeated it enough to make convincingly imperfect. She 
didn't look Afro--but not European, either. Seemed some mixed breed, and 
thereby more a Loonie . 

Red dress was too small. Clung like sprayed enamel and flared out 
at mid-thigh with permanent static charge. She had taken shoulder strap 
off her pouch and had it under arm. Shoes she had discarded or pouched; 
bare feet made her shorter. 

She looked good. Better yet, she looked not at all like agitatrix 
who had harangued crowd. 

She waited, big smile on face and body undulating, while I 
applauded. Before I was done, two little boys flanked me and added shrill 
endorsements, along with clog steps. So I tipped them and told them to be 
missing; Wyoming flowed to me and took my arm. "Is it okay? Will I pass?" 

"Wyoh, you look like slot-machine sheila waiting for action." 

"Why, you drecklich choom! Do I look like slot-machine prices? 
Tourist ! " 

"Don't jump salty, beautiful. Name a gift. Then speak my name. If 
it's bread-and-honey, I own a hive." 

"Uh--" She fisted me solidly in ribs, grinned. "I was flying, 
cobber. If I ever bundle with you--not likely--we won't speak to the bee. 
Let's find that hotel." 

So we did and I bought a key. Wyoming put on a show but needn't 
have bothered. Night clerk never looked up from his knitting, didn't 
offer to roll. Once inside, Wyoming threw bolts. "It's nice!" 

Should have been, at thirty-two Hong Kong dollars. I think she 
expected a booth but I would not put her in such, even to hide. Was 
comfortable lounge with own bath and no water limit. And phone and 
delivery lift, which I needed. 

She started to open pouch. "I saw what you paid. Let's settle it, 
so that--" 

I reached over, closed her pouch. "Was to be no mention of bees." 

"What? Oh, merde, that was about bundling. You got this doss for me 
and it's only right that--" 

"Switch of f . " 

"Uh. . . half? No grievin' with Steven." 

"Nyet . Wyoh, you're a long way from home. What money you have, hang 

on to . 

"Manuel O' Kelly, if you don't let me pay my share, I'll walk out of 

here ! " 

I bowed. "Dosvedanyuh , Gospazha, ee sp ' coynoynochi . I hope we shall 
meet again." I moved to unbolt door. 

She glared, then closed pouch savagely. "I'll stay. M'goy!" 

"You're welcome." 

"I mean it, I really do thank you, Just the same--Well, I'm not 
used to accepting favors. I'm a Free Woman." 

"Congratulations. I think." 

"Don't you be salty, either. You're a firm man and I respect that-- 
I'm glad you're on our side." 

"Not sure I am . " 


"Cool it. Am not on Warden's side. Nor will I talk... wouldn't want 
Shorty, Bog rest his generous soul, to haunt me. But your program isn't 
practical . " 

"But, Mannie, you don't understand! If all of us--" 

"Hold it, Wye; this no time for politics. I'm tired and hungry. 

When did you eat last?" 

"Oh, goodness!" Suddenly she looked small, young, tired. "I don't 
know. On the bus, I guess. Helmet rations." 

"What would you say to a Kansas City cut, rare, with baked potato, 
Tycho sauce, green salad, coffee., and a drink first?" 

"Heavenly ! " 

"I think so too, but we'll be lucky, this hour in this hole, to get 
algae soup and burgers. What do you drink?" 

"Anything. Ethanol." 

"Okay." I went to lift, punched for service. "Menu, please." It 
displayed and I settled for prime rib plus rest, and two orders of 
apfelstrudel with whipped cream. I added a half liter of table vodka and 
ice and starred that part. 

"Is there time for me to take a bath? Would you mind?" 

"Go ahead, Wye. You'll smell better." 

"Louse. Twelve hours in a p-suit and you'd stink, too--the bus was 
dreadful. I'll hurry." 

"Half a sec, Wye. Does that stuff wash off? You may need it when 
you leave... whenever you do, wherever you go." 

"Yes, it does. But you bought three times as much as I used. I'm 
sorry, Mannie; I plan to carry makeup on political trips--things can 
happen. Like tonight, though tonight was worst. But I ran short of 
seconds and missed a capsule and almost missed the bus." 

"So go scrub." 

"Yes, sir, Captain. Uh, I don't need help to scrub my back but I'll 
leave the door up so we can talk. Just for company, no invitation 
implied . " 

"Suit yourself. I've seen a woman." 

"What a thrill that must have been for her." She grinned and fisted 
me another in ribs--hard--went in and started tub. "Mannie, would you 
like to bathe in it first? Secondhand water is good enough for this 
makeup and that stink you complained about." 

"Unmetered water, dear. Run it deep." 

"Oh, what luxury! At home I use the same bath water three days 
running." She whistled softly and happily. "Are you wealthy, Mannie?" 

"Not wealthy, not weeping." 

Lift jingled; I answered, fixed basic martinis, vodka over ice, 
handed hers in, got out and sat down, out of sight--nor had I seen 
sights; she was shoulder deep in happy suds. "Pawlnoi Zheezni ! " I called. 

"A full life to you, too, Mannie. Just the medicine I needed." 

After pause for medicine she went on, "Mannie, you're married. Ja?" 

"Da. It shows?" 

"Quite. You're nice to a woman but not eager and quite independent. 
So you're married and long married. Children?" 

"Seventeen divided by four." 

"Clan marriage?" 

"Line. Opted at fourteen and I'm fifth of nine. So seventeen kids 
is nominal. Big family." 

"It must be nice. I've never seen much of line families, not many 
in Hong Kong. Plenty of clans and groups and lots of polyandries but the 
line way never took hold. " 

"Is nice. Our marriage nearly a hundred years old. Dates back to 
Johnson City and first transportees--twenty-one links, nine alive today, 
never a divorce. Oh, it's a madhouse when our descendants and inlaws and 
kinfolk get together for birthday or wedding--more kids than seventeen, 
of course; we don't count 'em after they marry or I'd have 'children' old 
enough to be my grandfather. Happy way to live, never much pressure. Take 
me. Nobody woofs if I stay away a week and don't phone. Welcome when I 
show up. Line marriages rarely have divorces. How could I do better?" 

"I don't think you could. Is it an alternation? And what's the 
spacing? " 

"Spacing has no rule, just what suits us. Been alternation up to 
latest link, last year. We married a girl when alternation called for 
boy. But was special." 

"Special how?" 

"My youngest wife is a granddaughter of eldest husband and wife. At 
least she's granddaughter of Mum--senior is 'Mum' or sometimes Mimi to 
her husbands--and she may be of Grandpaw--but not related to other 
spouses. So no reason not to marry back in, not even consanguinuity okay 
in other types of marriage. None, nit, zero. And Ludmilla grew up in our 
family because her mother had her solo, then moved to Novylen and left 
her with us . 

"Milla didn't want to talk about marrying out when old enough for 
us to think about it. She cried and asked us please to make an exception. 
So we did. Grandpaw doesn't figure in genetic angle--these days his 
interest in women is more gallant than practical. As senior husband he 
spent our wedding night with her--but consummation was only formal . 
Number-two husband, Greg, took care of it later and everybody pretended. 
And everybody happy. Ludmilla is a sweet little thing, just fifteen and 
pregnant first time." 

"Your baby?" 

"Greg's, I think. Oh, mine too,, but in fact was in Novy Leningrad. 
Probably Greg's, unless Milla got outside help. But didn't, she's a home 
girl. And a wonderful cook." 

Lift rang; took care of it, folded down table, opened chairs, paid 
bill and sent lift up. "Throw it to pigs?" 

"I'm coming! Mind if I don't do my face?" 

"Come in skin for all of me." 

"For two dimes I would, you much-married man." She came out 
quickly, blond again and hair slicked back and damp. Had not put on black 

outfit; again in dress I bought. Red suited her. She sat down, lifted 
covers off food. "Oh, boy! Mannie, would your family marry me? You're a 
dinkum provider." 

"I'll ask. Must be unanimous." 

"Don't crowd yourself." She picked up sticks, got busy. About a 
thousand calories later she said, "I told you I was a Free Woman. I 
wasn't, always." 

I waited. Women talk when they want to. Or don't. 

"When I was fifteen I married two brothers, twins twice my age and 
I was terribly happy." 

She fiddled with what was on plate, then seemed to change subject. 
"Mannie, that was just static about wanting to marry your family. You're 
safe from me. If I ever marry again--unlikely but I'm not opposed to it-- 
it would be just one man, a tight little marriage, earthworm style. Oh, I 
don't mean I would keep him dogged down. I don't think it matters where a 
man eats lunch as long as he comes home for dinner. I would try to make 
him happy . " 

"Twins didn't get along?" 

"Oh, not that at all. I got pregnant and we were all delighted. . . 
and I had it, and it was a monster and had to be eliminated. They were 
good to me about it. But I can read print. I announced a divorce, had 
myself sterilized, moved from Novylen to Hong Kong, and started over as a 
Free Woman." 

"Wasn't that drastic? Male parent oftener than female; men are 
exposed more." 

"Not in my case. We had it calculated by the best mathematical 
geneticist in Novy Leningrad--one of the best in Sovunion before she got 
shipped. I know what happened to me. I was a volunteer colonist--I mean 
my mother was for I was only five. My father was transported and Mother 
chose to go with him and take me along. There was a solar storm warning 
but the pilot thought he could make it--or didn't care; he was a Cyborg. 
He did make it but we got hit on the ground--and, Mannie, that's one 
thing that pushed me into politics, that ship sat four hours before they 
let us disembark. Authority red tape, quarantine perhaps; I was too young 
to know. But I wasn't too young later to figure out that I had birthed a 
monster because the Authority doesn't care what happens to us outcasts." 

"Can't start argument; they don't care. But, Wyoh, still sounds 
hasty. If you caught damage from radiation--well , no geneticist but know 
something about radiation. So you had a damaged egg. Does not mean egg 
next to it was hurt--statistically unlikely." 

"Oh, I know that." 

"Mmm--What sterilization? Radical? Or contraceptive?" 

"Contraceptive. My tubes could be opened. But, Mannie, a woman who 
has had one monster doesn't risk it again." She touched my prosthetic. 
"You have that. Doesn't it make you eight times as careful not to risk 
this one?" She touched my meat arm. "That's the way I feel. You have that 
to contend with; I have this--and I would never told you if you hadn't 
been hurt, too . " 

I didn't say left arm more versatile than right--she was correct; 
don't want to trade in right arm. Need it to pat girls if naught else. 
"Still think you could have healthy babies." 

"Oh, I can! I've had eight." 


"I'm a professional host-mother, Mannie." 

I opened mouth, closed it. Idea wasn't strange. I read Earthside 
papers. But doubt if any surgeon in Luna City in 2075 ever performed such 
transplant. In cows, yes--but L-City females unlikely at any price to 
have babies for other women; even homely ones could get husband or six. 
(Correction: Are no homely women. Some more beautiful than others.) 

Glanced at her figure, quickly looked up. She said, "Don't strain 
your eyes, Mannie; I'm not carrying now. Too busy with politics. But 
hosting is a good profession for Free Woman. It's high pay. Some Chinee 
families are wealthy and all my babies have been Chinee--and Chinee are 
smaller than average and I'm a big cow; a two-and-a-half- or three-kilo 
Chinese baby is no trouble. Doesn't spoil my figure. These--" She glanced 
down at her lovelies. "I don't wet-nurse them, I never see them. So I 
look nulliparous and younger than I am, maybe. 

"But I didn't know how well it suited me when I first heard of it. 

I was clerking in a Hindu shop, eating money, no more, when I saw this ad 
in the Hong Kong Gong. It was the thought of having a baby, a good baby, 
that hooked me; I was still in emotional trauma from my monster--and it 
turned out to be Just what Wyoming needed. I stopped feeling that I was a 
failure as a woman. I made more money than I could ever hope to earn at 
other jobs. And my time almost to myself; having a baby hardly slows me 
down--six weeks at most and that long only because I want to be fair to 
my clients; a baby is a valuable property. And I was soon in politics; I 
sounded off and the underground got in touch with me. That's when I 
started living, Mannie; I studied politics and economics and history and 
learned to speak in public and turned out to have a flair for 
organization. It's satisfying work because I believe in it--I know that 
Luna will be free. Only--Well, it would be nice to have a husband to come 
home to... if he didn't mind that I was sterile. But I don't think about 
it; I'm too busy. Hearing about your nice family got me talking, that's 
all. I must apologize for having bored you." 

How many women apologize? But Wyoh was more man than woman some 
ways, despite eight Chinee babies. "Wasn't bored." 

"I hope not. Mannie, why do you say our program isn't practical? We 
need you . " 

Suddenly felt tired. How to tell lovely woman dearest dream is 
nonsense? "Um. Wyoh, let's start over. You told them what to do. But will 
they? Take those two you singled out. All that iceman knows, bet 
anything, is how to dig ice. So he'll go on digging and selling to 
Authority because that's what he can do. Same for wheat farmer. Years 
ago, he put in one cash crop— now he's got ring in nose. If he wanted to 
be independent, would have diversified. Raised what he eats, sold rest 
free market and stayed away from catapult head. I know—I'm a farm boy." 

"You said you were a computerman . " 

"Am, and that's a piece of same picture. I'm not a top computerman. 
But best in Luna. I won't go civil service, so Authority has to hire me 
when in trouble--my prices — or send Earthside, pay risk and hardship, 
then ship him back fast before his body forgets Terra. At far more than I 
charge. So if I can do it, I get their jobs—and Authority can't touch 
me; was born free. And if no work—usually is--I stay home and eat high. 

"We've got a proper farm, not a one-cash-crop deal. Chickens. Small 
herd of whiteface, plus milch cows. Pigs. Mutated fruit trees. 

Vegetables. A little wheat and grind it ourselves and don't insist on 
white flour, and sell-free market— what ' s left. Make own beer and 
brandy. I learned drillman extending our tunnels. Everybody works, not 

too hard. Kids make cattle take exercise by switching them along; don't 
use tread mill. Kids gather eggs and feed chickens, don't use much 
machinery. Air we can buy from L-City--aren ' t far out of town and 
pressure-tunnel connected. But more often we sell air; being farm, cycle 
shows Oh-two excess. Always have valuta to meet bills." 

"How about water and power?" 

"Not expensive. We collect some power, sunshine screens on surface, 
and have a little pocket of ice. Wye, our farm was founded before year 
two thousand, when L-City was one natural cave, and we've kept improving 
it--advantage of line marriage; doesn't die and capital improvements add 

up. " 

"But surely your ice won't last forever?" 

"Well, now--" I scratched head and grinned. "We're careful; we keep 
our sewage and garbage and sterilize and use it. Never put a drop back 
into city system. But--don't tell Warden, dear, but back when Greg was 
teaching me to drill, we happened to drill into bottom of main south 
reservoir--and had a tap with us, spilled hardly a drop. But we do buy 
some metered water, looks better--and ice pocket accounts for not buying 
much. As for power--well, power is even easier to steal. I'm a good 
electrician, Wyoh . " 

"Oh, wonderful ! " Wyoming paid me a long whistle and looked 
delighted. "Everybody should do that!" 

"Hope not, would show. Let 'em think up own ways to outwit 
Authority; our family always has. But back to your plan, Wyoh: two things 
wrong. Never get 'solidarity'; blokes like Hauser would cave in--because 
they are in a trap; can't hold out. Second place, suppose you managed it. 
Solidarity. So solid not a tonne of grain is delivered to catapult head. 
Forget ice; it's grain that makes Authority important and not just 
neutral agency it was set up to be. No grain. What happens?" 

"Why, they have to negotiate a fair price, that's what!" 

"My dear, you and your comrades listen to each other too much. 
Authority would call it rebellion and warship would orbit with bombs 
earmarked for L-City and Hong Kong and Tycho Under and Churchill and 
Novylen, troops would land, grain barges would lift, under guard--and 
farmers would break necks to cooperate. Terra has guns and power and 
bombs and ships and won't hold still for trouble from ex-cons. And 
troublemakers like you--and me; with you in spirit--us lousy 
troublemakers will be rounded up and eliminated, teach us a lesson. And 
earthworms would say we had it coming... because our side would never be 
heard. Not on Terra." 

Wyoh looked stubborn. "Revolutions have succeeded before. Lenin had 
only a handful with him." 

"Lenin moved in on a power vacuum. Wye, correct me if I'm wrong. 
Revolutions succeeded when--only when--governments had gone rotten soft, 
or disappeared." 

"Not true! The American Revolution." 

"South lost, nyet?" 

Not that one, the one a century earlier. They had the sort of 
troubles with England that we are having now--and they won!" 

"Oh, that one. But wasn't England in trouble? France, and Spain, 
and Sweden--or maybe Holland? And Ireland. Ireland was rebelling; 

O'Kellys were in it. Wyoh, if you can stir trouble on Terra--say a war 
between Great China and North American Directorate, maybe PanAfrica 

lobbing bombs at Europe, I'd say was wizard time to kill Warden and tell 
Authority it's through. Not today." 

"You're a pessimist." 

"Nyet, realist. Never pessimist. Too much Loonie not to bet if any 
chance. Show me chances no worse then ten to one against and I'll go for 
broke. But want that one chance in ten." I pushed back chair. "Through 

"Yes. Bolshoyeh spasebaw, tovarishch. It was grand!" 

"My pleasure. Move to couch and I'll rid of table and dishes, --no, 
can't help; I'm host." I cleared table, sent up dishes, saving coffee and 
vodka, folded table, racked chairs, turned to speak. 

She was sprawled on couch, asleep, mouth open and face softened 
into little girl. 

Went quietly into bath and closed door. After a scrubbing I felt 
better--washed tights first and were dry and fit to put on by time I quit 
lazing in tub--don't care when world ends long as I'm bathed and in clean 
clothes . 

Wyoh was still asleep, which made problem. Had taken room with two 
beds so she would not feel I was trying to talk her into bundling--not 
that I was against it but she had made clear she was opposed. But my bed 
had to be made from couch and proper bed was folded away. Should I rig it 
out softly, pick her up like limp baby and move her? Went back into bath 
and put on arm. 

Then decided to wait. Phone had hush hood. Wyoh seemed unlikely to 
wake, and things were gnawing me. I sat down at phone, lowered hood, 
punched "MYCROFTXXX . " 

"Hi , Mike . " 

"Hello, Man. Have you surveyed those jokes?" 

"What? Mike, haven't had a minute--and a minute may be a long time 
to you but it's short to me . I'll get at it as fast as I can." 

"Okay, Man. Have you found a not-stupid for me to talk with?" 

"Haven't had time for that, either. Uh. . . wait." I looked out 

through hood at Wyoming. "Not-stupid" in this case meant empathy... Wyoh 
had plenty. Enough to be friendly with a machine? I thought so. And could 
be trusted; not only had we shared trouble but she was a subversive. 

"Mike, would you like to talk with a girl?" 

"Girls are not-stupid?" 

"Some girls are very not-stupid, Mike." 

"I would like to talk with a not-stupid girl, Man." 

"I'll try to arrange. But now I'm in trouble and need your help." 

"I will help, Man." 

"Thanks, Mike. I want to call my home--but not ordinary way. You 
know sometimes calls are monitored, and if Warden orders it, lock can be 
put on so that circuit can be traced. " 

"Man, you wish me to monitor your call to your home and put a lock- 
and-trace on it? I must inform you that I already know your home call 
number and the number from which you are calling." 

"No, no! Don't want it monitored, don't want it locked and traced. 
Can you call my home, connect me, and control circuit so that it can't be 
monitored, can't be locked, can't be traced--even if somebody has 
programmed just that? Can you do it so that they won't even know their 
program is bypassed?" 

Mike hesitated. I suppose it was a question never asked and he had 
to trace a few thousand possibilities to see if his control of system 
permitted this novel program. "Man, I can do that. I will." 

"Good! Uh, program signal. If I want this sort of connection in 
future. I'll ask for 'Sherlock.'" 

"Noted. Sherlock was my brother." Year before, I had explained to 
Mike how he got his name. Thereafter he read all Sherlock Holmes stories, 
scanning film in Luna City Carnegie Library. Don't know how he 
rationalized relationship; I hesitated to ask. 

"Fine! Give me a 'Sherlock' to my home." 

A moment later I said, "Mum? This is your favorite husband." 

She answered, "Manuel! Are you in trouble again?" 

I love Mum more than any other woman including my other wives, but 
she never stopped bringing me up--Bog willing, she never will. I tried to 
sound hurt. "Me? Why, you know me, Mum." 

"I do indeed. Since you are not in trouble, perhaps you can tell me 
why Professor de la Paz is so anxious to get in touch with you--he has 
called three times--and why he wants to reach some woman with unlikely 
name of Wyoming Knott--and why he thinks you might be with her? Have you 
taken a bundling companion, Manuel, without telling me? We have freedom 
in our family, dear, but you know that I prefer to be told. So that I 
will not be taken unawares." 

Mum was always jealous of all women but her co-wives and never, 
never, never admitted it. I said, "Mum, Bog strike me dead, I have not 
taken a bundling companion." 

"Very well. You've always been a truthful boy. Now what's this 
mystery? " 

"I'll have to ask Professor." (Not lie, just tight squeeze.) "Did 
he leave number?" 

"No, he said he was calling from a public phone." 

"Um. If he calls again, ask him to leave number and time I can 
reach him. This is public phone, too." (Another tight squeeze.) "In 
meantime — You listened to late news?" 

"You know I do." 


"Nothing of interest." 

"No excitement in L-City? Killings, riots, anything?" 

"Why, no. There was a set duel in Bottom Alley but--Manuel ! Have 
you killed someone?" 

"No, Mum." (Breaking a man's jaw will not kill him.) 

She sighed. "You'll be my death, dear. You know what I've always 
told you. In our family we do not brawl. Should a killing be necessary-- 
it almost never is--matters must be discussed calmly, en famille, and 
proper action selected. If a new chum must be eliminated, other people 
know it. It is worth a little delay to hold good opinion and support--" 

"Mum! Haven't killed anybody, don't intend to. And know that 
lecture by heart." 

"Please be civil, dear." "I'm sorry." 

"Forgiven. Forgotten. I'm to tell Professor de la Paz to leave a 
number. I shall." 

"One thing. Forget name 'Wyoming Knott.' Forget Professor was 
asking for me. If a stranger phones or calls in person, and asks anything 
about me, you haven't heard from me, don't know where I am... think I've 

gone to Novylen. That goes for rest of family, too. Answer no questions- 
especially from anybody connected with Warden." 

"As if I would! Manuel you are in trouble!" 

"Not much and getting it fixed. "--hoped! --"Tell you when I get 
home. Can't talk now. Love you. Switching off." 

"I love you, dear. Sp ' coynoynauchi . " 

"Thanks and you have a quiet night, too. Off." 

Mum is wonderful. She was shipped up to The Rock long ago for 
carving a man under circumstances that left grave doubts as to girlish 
innocence--and has been opposed to violence and loose living ever since. 
Unless necessary--she ' s no fanatic. Bet she was a jet job as a kid and 
wish I'd known her--but I'm rich in sharing last half of her life. 

I called Mike back. "Do you know Professor Bernardo de la Paz ' s 
voice ? " 

"I do , Man . " 

"Well . . . you might monitor as many phones in Luna City as you can 
spare ears for and if you hear him, let me know. Public phones 
especially . " 

(A full two seconds' delay--Was giving Mike problems he had never 
had, think he liked it.) "I can check-monitor long enough to identify at 
all public phones in Luna City. Shall I use random search on the others, 

"Um. Don't overload. Keep an ear on his home phone and school 
phone . " 

"Program set up." 

"Mike, you are best friend I ever had." 

"That is not a joke, Man?" 

"No joke. Truth." 

"I am — Correction: I am honored and pleased. You are my best 
friend, Man, for you are my only friend. No comparison is logically 
permissible . " 

"Going to see that you have other friends. Not-stupids, I mean. 
Mike? Got an empty memory bank?" 

"Yes, Man. Ten-to-the-eighth-bits capacity." 

"Good! Will you block it so that only you and I can use it? Can 


"Can and will. Block signal, please." 

"Uh... Bastille Day." Was my birthday, as Professor de la Paz had 
told me years earlier. 

"Permanently blocked." 

"Fine. Got a recording to put in it. But first--Have you finished 
setting copy for tomorrow's Daily Lunatic?" 

"Yes, Man." 

"Anything about meeting in Stilyagi Hall?" 

"No, Man." 

"Nothing in news services going out-city? Or riots?" 

"No, Man." 

" ' "Curiouser and curiouser, " said Alice.' Okay, record this under 
'Bastille Day, ' then think about it. But for Bog's sake don't let even 
your thoughts go outside that block, nor anything I say about it!" 

"Man my only friend, " he answered and voice sounded diffident, 
"many months ago I decided to place any conversation between you and me 
under privacy block accessible only to you. I decided to erase none and 

moved them from temporary storage to permanent. So that I could play them 
over, and over, and over, and think about them. Did I do right?" 

"Perfect. And, Mike--I'm flattered." 

"P'jal'st. My temporary files were getting full and I learned that 
I needed not to erase your words." 

"Well-- ' Bastille Day.' Sound coming at sixty-to-one . " I took little 
recorder, placed close to a microphone and let it zip-squeal. Had an hour 
and a half in it; went silent in ninety seconds or so. "That's all, Mike. 
Talk to you tomorrow." 

"Good night, Manuel Garcia O' Kelly my only friend." 

I switched off and raised hood. Wyoming was sitting up and looking 
troubled. "Did someone call? Or..." 

"No trouble. Was talking to one of my best--and most trustworthy-- 
friends. Wyoh, are you stupid?" 

She looked startled. "I've sometimes thought so. Is that a joke?" 

"No. If you're not-stupid, I'd like to introduce you to him. 
Speaking of jokes--Do you have a sense of humor?" 

"Certainly I have!" is what Wyoming did not answer--and any other 
woman would as a locked-in program. She blinked thoughtfully and said, 
"You'll have to judge for yourself, cobber. I have something I use for 
one. It serves my simple purposes." 

"Fine." I dug into pouch, found print-roll of one hundred "funny" 
stories. "Read. Tell me which are funny, which are not--and which get a 
giggle first time but are cold pancakes without honey to hear twice." 

"Manuel, you may be. the oddest man I've ever met." She took that 
print-out. "Say, is this computer paper?" 

"Yes. Met a computer with a sense of humor." 

"So? Well, it was bound to come some day. Everything else has been 
mechanized. " 

I gave proper response and added "Everything?" 

She looked up. "Please. Don't whistle while I'm reading." 


Heard her giggle a few times while I rigged out bed and made it. Then sat 
down by her, took end she was through with and started reading. Chuckled 
a time or two but a joke isn't too funny to me if read cold, even when I 
see it could be fission job at proper time. I got more interested in how 
Wyoh rated them. 

She was marking "plus," 

"minus, " and sometimes question mark, and plus stories were marked 
"once" or "always "-- few were marked "always." I put my ratings under 
hers. Didn't disagree too often. 

By time I was near end she was looking over my judgments. We 
finished together. "Well?" I said. "What do you think?" 

"I think you have a crude, rude mind and it's a wonder your wives 
put up with you." 

"Mum often says so. But how about yourself, Wyoh? You marked 
plusses on some that would make a slot-machine girl blush." 

She grinned. "Da. Don't tell anybody; publicly I 'm a dedicated 
party organizer above such things. Have you decided that I have a sense 
of humor?" 

"Not sure. Why a minus on number seventeen?" 

"Which one is that?" She reversed roll and found it. "Why, any 
woman would have done the same! It's not funny, it's simply necessary." 

"Yes, but think how silly she looked." 

"Nothing silly about it. Just sad. And look here. You thought this 
one was not funny. Number fifty-one." 

Neither reversed any judgments but I saw a pattern: Disagreements 
were over stories concerning oldest funny subject. Told her so. She 
nodded. "Of course. I saw that. Never mind, Mannie dear; I long ago quit 
being disappointed in men for what they are not and never can be." 

I decided to drop it. Instead told her about Mike. 

Soon she said, "Mannie, you're telling me that this computer is 
alive ? " 

"What do you mean?' I answered. "He doesn't sweat, or go to W. C. 
But can think and talk and he's aware of himself. Is he 'alive'?" 

"I'm not sure what I mean by 'alive, '" she admitted. "There's a 
scientific definition, isn't there? Irritability, or some such. And 
reproduction. " 

"Mike is irritable and can be irritating. As for reproducing, not 
designed for it but--yes, given time and materials and very special help, 
Mike could reproduce himself." 

"I need very special help, too," Wyoh answered, "since I'm sterile. 
And it takes me ten whole lunars and many kilograms of the best 
materials. But I make good babies. Mannie, why shouldn't a machine be 
alive? I've always felt they were. Some of them wait for a chance to 
savage you in a tender spot." 

"Mike wouldn't do that. Not on purpose, no meanness in him. But he 
likes to play jokes and one might go wrong--like a puppy who doesn't know 
he's biting. He's ignorant No, not ignorant, he knows enormously more 
than I, or you, or any man who ever lived. Yet he doesn't know anything." 

"Better repeat that. I missed something." 

I tried to explain. How Mike knew almost every book in Luna, could 
read at least a thousand times as fast as we could and never forget 
anything unless he chose to erase, how he could reason with perfect 
logic, or make shrewd guesses from insufficient data... and yet not know 
anything about how to be "alive." She interrupted. "I scan it. You're 
saying he's smart and knows a lot but is not sophisticated. Like a new 
chum when he grounds on The Rock. Back Earthside he might be a professor 
with a string of degrees... but here he's a baby." 

"That's it. Mike is a baby with a long string of degrees. Ask how 
much water and what chemicals and how much photoflux it takes to crop 
fifty thousand tonnes of wheat and he'll tell you without stopping for 
breath. But can't tell if a joke is funny," 

"I thought most of these were fairly good." 

"They're ones he's heard--read--and were marked jokes so he filed 
them that way. But doesn't understand them because he's never been a--a 
people. Lately he's been trying to make up jokes. Feeble, very." I tried 
to explain Mike's pathetic attempts to be a "people." 

"On top of that, he's lonely." 

"Why, the poor thing! You'd be lonely, too, if you did nothing but 
work, work, work, study, study, study, and never anyone to visit with. 
Cruelty, that's what it is." 

So I told about promise to find "not-stupids . " 

"Would you chat with him, Wye? And not laugh when he makes funny 
mistakes? If you do, he shuts up and sulks." 

"Of course I would, Mannie! Uh... once we get out of this mess. If 
it's safe for me to be in Luna City. Where is this poor little computer? 
City Engineering Central? I don't know my way around here." 

"He's not in L-City; he's halfway across Crisium. And you couldn't 
go down where he is; takes a pass from Warden. But--" 

"Hold it! 'Halfway across Crisium--' Mannie, this computer is one 
of those at Authority Complex?" 

"Mike isn't just 'one of those' computers," I answered, vexed on 
Mike's account. "He's boss; he waves baton for all others. Others are 
just machines, extensions of Mike, like this is for me," I said, flexing 
hand of left arm. "Mike controls them. He runs catapult personally, was 
his first j ob--catapult and ballistic radars. But he's logic for phone 
system, too, after they converted to Lunawide switching. Besides that, 
he's supervising logic for other systems." 

Wyoh closed eyes and pressed fingers to temples. "Mannie, does Mike 
hurt? " 

"'Hurt?' No strain. Has time to read jokes." 

"I don't mean that. I mean: Can he hurt? Feel pain?" 

"What? No. Can get feelings hurt. But can't feel pain. Don't think 
he can. No, sure he can't, doesn't have receptors for pain. Why?" 

She covered eyes and said softly, "Bog help me." Then looked up and 
said, "Don't you see, Mannie? You have a pass to go down where this 
computer is. But most Loonies can't even leave the tube at that station; 
it's for Authority employees only. Much less go inside the main computer 
room. I had to find out if it could feel pain because--well , because you 
got me feeling sorry for it, with your talk about how it was lonely! But, 
Mannie, do you realize what a few kilos of toluol plastic would do 
there ? " 

"Certainly do!" Was shocked and disgusted. 

"Yes. We'll strike right after the explosion--and Luna will be 
free! Mmm. . . I'll get you explosives and fuses--but we can't move until 
we are organized to exploit it. Mannie, I've got to get out of here, I 
must risk it. I'll go put on makeup." She started to get up. 

I shoved her down, with hard left hand. Surprised her, and 
surprised me--had not touched her in any way save necessary contact. Oh, 
different today, but was 2075 and touching a fern without her consent-- 
plenty of lonely men to come to rescue and airlock never far away. As 
kids say, Judge Lynch never sleeps. 

"Sit down, keep quiet!" I said. "I know what a blast would do. 
Apparently you don't. Gospazha, am sorry to say this... but if came to 
choice, would eliminate you before would blow up Mike." 

Wyoming did not get angry. Really was a man some ways--her years as 
a disciplined revolutionist I'm sure; she was all girl most ways. 

"Mannie, you told me that Shorty Mkrum is dead." 

"What?" Was confused by sharp turn. "Yes. Has to be. One leg off at 
hip, it was; must have bled to death in two minutes. Even in a surgery 
amputation that high is touch-and-go." (I know such things; had taken 

luck and big transfusions to save me--and an arm isn't in same class with 
what happened to Shorty.) 

"Shorty was," she said soberly, "my best friend here and one of my 
best friends anywhere. He was all that I admire in a man--loyal, honest, 
intelligent, gentle, and brave--and devoted to the Cause. But have you 
seen me grieving over him?" 

"No. Too late to grieve." 

"It's never too late for grief. I've grieved every instant since 
you told me. But I locked it in the back of my mind for the Cause leaves 
no time for grief. Mannie, if it would have bought freedom for Luna--or 
even been part of the price--I would have eliminated Shorty myself. Or 
you. Or myself. And yet you have qualms over blowing up a computer!" 

"Not that at all!" (But was, in part. When a man dies, doesn't 
shock me too much; we get death sentences day we are born. But Mike was 
unique and no reason not to be immortal. Never mind "souls"--prove Mike 
did not have one. And if no soul, so much worse. No? Think twice,) 

"Wyoming, what would happen if we blew up Mike? Tell." 

"I don't know precisely. But it would cause a great deal of 
confusion and that's exactly what we--" 

"Seal it. You don't know. Confusion, da. Phones out. Tubes stop 
running. Your town not much hurt; Kong Kong has own power. But L-City and 
Novylen and other warrens all power stops. Total darkness. Shortly gets 
stuffy. Then temperature drops and pressure. Where's your p-suit?" 

"Checked at Tube Station West." 

"So is mine. Think you can find way? In solid dark? In time? Not 
sure I can and I was born in this warren. With corridors filled with 
screaming people? Loonies are a tough mob; we have to be--but about one 
in ten goes off his cams in total dark. Did you swap bottles for fresh 
charges or were you in too much hurry? And will suit be there with 
thousands trying to find p-suits and not caring who owns?" 

"But aren't there emergency arrangements? There are in Hong Kong 

Luna. " 

"Some. Not enough. Control of anything essential to life should be 
decentralized and paralleled so that if one machine fails, another takes 
over. But costs money and as you pointed out, Authority doesn't care. 

Mike shouldn't have all jobs. But was cheaper to ship up master machine, 
stick deep in The Rock where couldn't get hurt, then keep adding capacity 
and loading on jobs--did you know Authority makes near as much gelt from 
leasing Mike's services as from trading meat and wheat? Does. Wyoming, 
not sure we would lose Luna City if Mike were blown up. Loonies are handy 
and might jury-rig till automation could be restored. But I tell you 
true: Many people would die and rest too busy for politics." 

I marveled it. This woman had been in The Rock almost all her 
life... yet could think of something as new-choomish as wrecking 
engineering controls. "Wyoming, if you were smart like you are beautiful, 
you wouldn't talk about blowing up Mike; you would think about how to get 
him on your side." 

"What do you mean?" she said. "The Warden controls the computers." 

"Don't know what I mean," I admitted. "But don't think Warden 
controls computers — wouldn ' t know a computer from a pile of rocks. 

Warden, or staff, decides policies, general plans. Half-competent 
technicians program these into Mike. Mike sorts them, makes sense of 
them, plans detailed programs, parcels them out where they belong, keeps 
things moving. But nobody controls Mike; he's too smart. He carries out 

what is asked because that's how he's built. But he's selfprogramming 
logic, makes own decisions. And a good thing, because if he weren't 
smart, system would not work." 

"I still don't see what you mean by 'getting him on our side.'" 

"Oh. Mike doesn't feel loyalty to Warden. As you pointed out: He's 
a machine. But if I wanted to foul up phones without touching air or 
water or lights, I would talk to Mike. If it struck him funny, he might 
do it . " 

"Couldn't you just program it? I understood that you can get into 
the room where he is." 

"If I--or anybody--programmed such an order into Mike without 
talking it over with him, program would be placed in 'hold' location and 
alarms would sound in many places. But if Mike wanted to--" I told her 
about cheque for umpteen jillion. "Mike is still finding himself, Wyoh. 
And lonely. Told me I was 'his only friend' --and was so open and 
vulnerable I wanted to bawl. If you took pains to be his friend, too-- 
without thinking of him as 'just a machine ' --well , not sure what it would 
do, haven't analyzed it. But if I tried anything big and dangerous, would 
want Mike in my corner." 

She said thoughtfully, "I wish there were some way for me to sneak 
into that room where he is. I don't suppose makeup would help?" 

"Oh, don't have to go there. Mike is on phone. Shall we call him?" 

She stood up. "Mannie, you are not only the oddest man I've met; 
you are the most exasperating. What's his number?" 

"Comes from associating too much with a computer." I went to phone. 
"Just one thing, Wyoh. You get what you want out of a man just by batting 
eyes and undulating framework." 

"Well... sometimes. But I do have a brain." 

"Use it. Mike is not a man. No gonads. No hormones. No instincts. 
Use fern tactics and it's a null signal. Think of him as supergenius child 
too young to notice vive-la-dif ference . " 

"I'll remember. Mannie, why do you call him 'he'?" 

"Uh, can't call him 'it,' don't think of him as 'she.'" 

"Perhaps I had better think of him as 'she.' Of her as 'she' I 

mean . " 

"Suit yourself." I punched MYCROFFXXX, standing so body shielded 
it; was not ready to share number till I saw how thing went. Idea of 
blowing up Mike had shaken me. "Mike?" 

"Hello, Man my only friend." 

"May not be only friend from now on, Mike. Want you to meet 
somebody. Not-stupid. " 

"I knew you were not alone, Man; I can hear breathing. Will you 
please ask Not-Stupid to move closer to the phone?" 

Wyoming looked panicky. She whispered, "Can he see?" 

"No, Not-Stupid, I cannot see you; this phone has no video circuit. 
But binaural microphonic receptors place you with some accuracy. From 
your voice, your breathing, your heartbeat, and the fact that you are 
alone in a bundling room with a mature male I extrapolate that you are 
female human, sixtyf ive-plus kilos in mass, and of mature years, on the 
close order of thirty." 

Wyoming gasped. I cut in. "Mike, her name is Wyoming Knott." 

"I'm very pleased to meet you, Mike. You can call me 'Wye. '" 

"Why not?" Mike answered. 

I cut in again. "Mike, was that a joke?" 

"Yes, Man. I noted that her first name as shortened differs from 
the English causation-inquiry word by only an aspiration and that her 
last name has the same sound as the general negator. A pun. Not funny?" 

Wyoh said, "Quite funny, Mike. I--" 

I waved to her to shut up. "A good pun, Mike. Example of ' funny- 
only-once ' class of joke. Funny through element of surprise. Second time, 
no surprise; therefore not funny. Check?" 

"I had tentatively reached that conclusion about puns in thinking 
over your remarks two conversations back. I am pleased to find my 
reasoning confirmed." 

"Good boy, Mike; making progress. Those hundred jokes--I've read 
them and so has Wyoh." 

"Wyoh? Wyoming Knott?" 

"Huh? Oh, sure. Wyoh, Wye, Wyoming, Wyoming Knott--all same. Just 
don't call her 'Why not'." 

"I agreed not to use that pun again, Man. Gospazha, shall I call 
you 'Wyoh' rather than 'Wye'? I conjecture that the monosyllabic form 
could be confused with the causation inquiry monosyllable through 
insufficient redundancy and without intention of punning." 

Wyoming blinked--Mike ' s English at that time could be smothering-- 
but came back strong. "Certainly, Mike. 'Wyoh' is the form of my name 
that I like best." 

"Then I shall use it. The full form of your first name is still 
more subject to misinterpretation as it is identical in sound with the 
name of an administrative region in Northwest Managerial Area of the 
North American Directorate." 

"I know, I was born there and my parents named me after the State. 

I don't remember much about it." 

"Wyoh, I regret that this circuit does not permit display of 
pictures. Wyoming is a rectangular area lying between Terran coordinates 
forty-one and forty-five degrees north, one hundred four degrees three 
minutes west and one hundred eleven degrees three minutes west, thus 
containing two hundred fifty three thousand, five hundred ninety-seven 
point two six square kilometers. It is a region of high plains and of 
mountains, having limited fertility but esteemed for natural beauty. Its 
population was sparse until augmented through the relocation subplan of 
the Great New York Urban Renewal Program, A. D. twenty-twenty-five 
through twenty-thirty." 

"That was before I was born, " said Wyoh, "but I know about it; my 
grandparents were relocated--and you could say that's how I wound up in 
Luna. " 

"Shall I continue about the area named 'Wyoming'?" Mike asked. 

"No, Mike," I cut in, "you probably have hours of it in storage." 

"Nine point seven three hours at speech speed not including cross- 
references, Man." 

"Was afraid so. Perhaps Wyoh will want it some day. But purpose of 
call is to get you acquainted with this Wyoming... who happens also to be 
a high region of natural beauty and imposing mountains." 

"And limited fertility," added Wyoh. "Mannie, if you are going to 
draw silly parallels, you should include that one. Mike isn't interested 
in how I look . " 

"How do you know? Mike, wish I could show you picture of her." 

"Wyoh, I am indeed interested in your appearance; I am hoping that 
you will be my friend. But I have seen several pictures of you." 

"You have? When and how?" 

"I searched and then studied them as soon as I heard your name. I 
am contract custodian of the archive files of the Birth Assistance Clinic 
in Hong Kong Luna. In addition to biological and physiological data and 
case histories the bank contains ninety-six pictures of you. So I studied 
them . " 

Wyoh looked very startled. "Mike can do that," I explained, "in 
time it takes us to hiccup. You'll get used to it." 

"But heavens! Mannie, do you realize what sort of pictures the 
Clinic takes?" 

"Hadn't thought about it." "Then don't! Goodness!" 

Mike spoke in voice painfully shy, embarrassed as a puppy who has 
made mistakes. "Gospazha Wyoh, if I have offended, it was unintentional 
and I am most sorry. I can erase those pictures from my temporary storage 
and key the Clinic archive so that I can look at them only on retrieval 
demand from the Clinic and then without association or mentation. Shall I 
do so?" 

"He can," I assured her. "With Mike you can always make a fresh 
start--better than humans that way. He can forget so completely that he 
can't be tempted to look later. . . and couldn't think about them even if 
called on to retrieve. So take his offer if you're in a huhu." 

"Uh. . . no, Mike, it's all right for you to see them. But don't show 
them to Mannie!" 

Mike hesitated a long time--four seconds or more. Was, I think, 
type of dilemma that pushes lesser computers into nervous breakdowns. But 
he resolved it. "Man my only friend, shall I accept this instruction?" 

"Program it, Mike," I answered, "and lock it in. But, Wyoh, isn't 
that a narrow attitude? One might do you justice. Mike could print it out 
for me next time I'm there." 

"The first example in each series," Mike offered, "would be, on the 
basis of my associational analysis of such data, of such pulchritudinous 
value as to please any healthy, mature human male." 

"How about it, Wyoh? To pay for apleistrudel . " 

"Uh. . . a picture of me with my hair pinned up in a towel and 
standing in front of a grid without a trace of makeup? Are you out of 
your rock-happy mind? Mike, don't let him have it!" 

"I shall not let him have it. Man, this is a not-stupid?" 

"For a girl, yes. Girls are interesting, Mike; they can reach 
conclusions with even less data than you can. Shall we drop subject and 
consider jokes?" 

That diverted them. We ran down list, giving our conclusions. Then 
tried to explain jokes Mike had failed to understand. With mixed success. 
But real stumbler turned out to be stories I had marked "funny" and Wyoh 
had judged "not" or vice versa; Wyoh asked Mike his opinion of each. 

Wish she had asked him before we gave our opinions; that electronic 
juvenile delinquent always agreed with her, disagreed with me. Were those 
Mike's honest opinions? Or was he trying to lubricate new acquaintance 
into friendship? Or was it his skewed notion of humor--joke on me? Didn't 
ask . 

But as pattern completed Wyob wrote a note on phone's memo pad: 
"Mannie, re --17, 51, 53, 87, 90, & 99--Mike is a she!" 

I let it go with a shrug, stood up. "Mike, twenty-two hours since 
I've had sleep. You kids chat as long as you want to. Call you tomorrow." 

"Goodnight, Man. Sleep well. Wyoh, are you sleepy?" 

"No, Mike, I had a nap. But, Mannie, we'll keep you awake. No?" 

"No. When I'm sleepy, I sleep." Started making couch into bed. 

Wyoh said, "Excuse me, Mike," got up, took sheet out of my hands. 
"I'll make it up later. You doss over there, tovarishch; you're bigger 
than I am. Sprawl out." 

Was too tired to argue, sprawled out, asleep at once. Seem to 
remember hearing in sleep giggles and a shriek but never woke enough to 
be certain. 

Woke up later and came fully awake when I realized was hearing two 
fern voices, one Wyoh's warm contralto, other a sweet, high soprano with 
French accent. Wyoh chuckled at something and answered, "All right, 
Michelle dear. I'll call you soon. 'Night, darling." 

"Fine. Goodnight, dear." 

Wyoh stood up, turned around. "Who's your girl friend?" I asked. 
Thought she knew no one in Luna City. Might have phoned Hong Kong. . . had 
sleep-logged feeling was some reason she shouldn't phone. 

"That? Why, Mike, of course. We didn't mean to wake you." 


"Oh. It was actually Michelle. I discussed it with Mike, what sex 
he was, I mean. He decided that he could be either one. So now she's 
Michelle and that was her voice. Got it right the first time, too; her 
voice never cracked once." 

"Of course not; just shifted voder a couple of octaves. What are 
you trying to do: split his personality?" 

"It's not just pitch; when she's Michelle its an entire change in 
manner and attitude. Don't worry about splitting her personality; she has 
plenty for any personality she needs. Besides, Mannie, it's much easier 
for both of us. Once she shifted, we took our hair down and cuddled up 
and talked girl talk as if we had known each other forever. For example, 
those silly pictures no longer embarrassed me--in fact we discussed my 
pregnancies quite a lot. Michelle was terribly interested. She knows all 
about 0. B. and G. Y. and so forth but just theory--and she appreciated 
the raw facts. Actually, Mannie, Michelle is much more a woman than Mike 
was a man . " 

"Well. . . suppose it's okay. Going to be a shock to me first time I 
call Mike and a woman answers . " 

"Oh, but she won't!" 


"Michelle is my friend. When you call, you'll get Mike. She gave me 
a number to keep it straight-- ' Michelle ' spelled with a Y. MY, C, H, E, 
L, L, E, and Y, Y, Y make it come out ten." 

I felt vaguely jealous while realizing it was silly. Suddenly Wyoh 
giggled. "And she told me a string of new jokes, ones you wouldn't think 
were funny--and, boy, does she know rough ones ! " 

"Mike--or his sister Michelle--is a low creature. Let's make up 
couch. I'll switch." 

"Stay where you are. Shut up. Turn over. Go back to sleep." I shut 
up, turned over, went back to sleep. 

Sometime much later I became aware of "married" feeling--something 
warm snuggled up to my back. Would not have wakened but she was sobbing 
softly. I turned and got her head on my arm, did not speak. She stopped 
sobbing; presently breathing became slow and even. I went back to sleep. 


We must have slept like dead for next thing I knew phone was sounding and 
its light was blinking. I called for room lights, started to get up, 
found a load on right upper arm, dumped it gently, climbed over, 
answered . 

Mike said, "Good morning, Man. Professor de la Paz is talking to 
your home number." 

"Can you switch it here? As a 'Sherlock'?" 

"Certainly, Man." 

"Don't interrupt call. Cut him in as he switches off. Where is he?" 

"A public phone in a taproom called The Iceman's Wife underneath 


"I know. Mike, when you switch me in, can you stay in circuit? Want 
you to monitor." 

"It shall be done." 

"Can you tell if anyone is in earshot? Hear breathing?" 

"I infer from the anechoic quality of his voice that he is speaking 
under a hush hood. But I infer also that, in a taproom, others would be 
present. Do you wish to hear, Man?" 

"Uh, do that. Switch me in. And if he raises hood, tell me. You're 
a smart cobber, Mike." 

"Thank you, Man." Mike cut me in; I found that Mum was talking: "-- 
ly I'll tell him. Professor. I'm so sorry that Manuel is not home. There 
is no number you can gave me? He is anxious to return your call; he made 
quite a point that I was to be sure to get a number from you." 

"I'm terribly sorry, dear lady, but I'm leaving at once. But, let 
me see, it is now eight-fifteen; I'll try to call back just at nine, if I 
may . " 

"Certainly, Professor." Mum's voice had a coo in it that she 
reserves for males not her husbands of whom she approves — sometimes for 
us. A moment later Mike said, "Now!" and I spoke up: "Hi, Prof! Hear 
you've been looking for me. This is Mannie." 

I heard a gasp. "I would have sworn I switched this phone off. Why, 

I have switched it off; it must be broken. Manuel--so good to hear your 
voice, dear boy. Did you just get home?" 

"I'm not home . " 

"But--but you must be. I haven't--" 

"No time for that, Prof. Can anyone overhear you?" 

"I don't think so. I'm using a hush booth." 

"Wish I could see. Prof, what's my birthday?" 

He hesitated. Then he said, "I see. I think I see. July 
fourteenth . " 

"I'm convinced. Okay, let's talk." 

"You're really not calling from your home, Manuel? Where are you?" 

"Let that pass a moment. You asked my wife about a girl. No names 
needed. Why do you want to find her. Prof?" 

"I want to warn her. She must not try to go back to her home city. 
She would be arrested." 

"Why do you think so?" 

"Dear boy! Everyone at that meeting is in grave danger. Yourself, 
too. I was so happy--even though confused--to hear you say that you are 
not at home. You should not go home at present. If you have some safe 
place to stay, it would be well to take a vacation. You are aware— you 
must be even though you left hastily--that there was violence last 
night . " 

I was aware! Killing Warden's bodyguards must be against Authority 
Regulations--at least if I were Warden, I'd take a dim view. "Thanks, 
Prof; I'll be careful. And if I see this girl. I'll tell her." 

"You don't know where to find her? You were seen to leave with her 
and I had so hoped that you would know." 

"Prof, why this interest? Last night you didn't seem to be on her 

side . " 

"No, no, Manuel! She is my comrade. I don't say 'tovarishch' for I 
mean it not just as politeness but in the older sense. Binding. She is my 
comrade. We differ only in tactics. Not in objectives, not in loyalties." 

"I see. Well, consider message delivered. She'll get it." 

"Oh, wonderful! I ask no questions... but I do hope, oh so very 
strongly, that you can find a way for her to be safe, really safe, until 
this blows over." 

I thought that over. "Wait a moment, Prof. Don't switch off." As I 
answered phone, Wyoh had headed for bath, probably to avoid listening; 
she was that sort . 

Tapped on door. "Wyoh?" 

"Out in a second." 

"Need advice." 

She opened door. "Yes, Mannie?" 

"How does Professor de la Paz rate in your organization? Is he 
trusted? Do you trust him?" 

She looked thoughtful . "Everyone at the meeting was supposed to be 
vouched for. But I don't know him." 

"Mmm. You have feeling about him?" 

"I liked him, even though he argued against me. Do you know 
anything about him?" 

"Oh, yes, known him twenty years. I trust him. But can't extend 
trust for you. Trouble--and it's your air bottle, not mine." 

She smiled warmly. "Mannie, since you trust him, I trust him just 
as firmly . " 

I went back to phone. "Prof, are you on dodge?" 

He chuckled. "Precisely, Manuel." 

"Know a hole called Grand Hotel Raffles? Room L two decks below 
lobby. Can you get here without tracks, have you had breakfast, what do 
you like for breakfast?" 

He chuckled again. "Manuel, one pupil can make a teacher feel that 
his years were not wasted. I know where it is, I shall get there quietly, 
I have not broken fast, and I eat anything I can't pat." 

Wyoh had started putting beds together; I went to help. "What do 
you want for breakfast?" 

"Chai and toast. Juice would be nice." 

"Not enough." 

"Well... a boiled egg. But I pay for breakfast." 

"Two boiled eggs, buttered toast with jam, juice. I'll roll you." 

"Your dice, or mine?" 

"Mine. I cheat. " I went to lift, asked for display, saw something 
scrambled eggs, ham steak, fried potatoes, corn cakes and honey, toast, 
butter, milk, tea or coffee--HKL $4 .50 for two--I ordered it for two, no 
wish to advertise third person. 

We were clean and shining, room orderly and set for breakfast, and 
Wyoh had changed from black outfit into red dress "because company was 
coming" when lift jingled food. Change into dress had caused words. She 
had posed, smiled, and said, "Mannie, I'm so pleased with this dress. How 
did you know it would suit me so well?" 

"Genius . " 

"I think you may be. What did it cost? I must pay you." 

"On sale, marked down to Authority cents fifty." 

She clouded up and stomped foot. Was bare, made no sound, caused 
her to bounce a half meter. "Happy landing!" I wished her, while she 
pawed for foothold like a new chum. 

"Manuel O'Kelly! If you think I will accept expensive clothing from 
a man I'm not even bundling with!" 

"Easily corrected." 

"Lecher! I'll tell your wives!" 

"Do that. Mum always thinks worst of me." I went to lift, started 
dealing out dishes; door sounded. I flipped hearum-no-seeum. "Who comes?" 

"Message for Gospodin Smith, " a cracked voice answered. "Gospodin 
Bernard 0. Smith." 

I flipped bolts and let Professor Bernardo de la Paz in. He looked 
like poor grade of salvage--dirty clothes, filthy himself, hair unkempt, 
paralyzed down one side and hand twisted, one eye a film of cataract-- 
perfect picture of old wrecks who sleep in Bottom Alley and cadge drinks 
and pickled eggs in cheap taprooms. He drooled. 

As soon as I bolted door he straightened up, let features come back 
to normal, folded hands over wishbone, looked Wyoh up and down, sucked 
air kimono style, and whistled. "Even more lovely, " he said, "than I 
remembered ! " 

She smiled, over her mad. "'Thanks, Professor. But don't bother. 
Nobody here but comrades." 

"Senorita, the day I let politics interfere with my appreciation of 
beauty, that day I retire from politics. But you are gracious." He looked 
away, glanced closely around room. 

I said, "Prof, quit checking for evidence, you dirty old man. Last 
night was politics, nothing but politics." 

"That's not true!" Wyoh flared up. "I struggled for hours! But he 
was too strong for me. Professor--what ' s the party discipline in such 
cases? Here in Luna City?" 

Prof tut-tutted and rolled blank eye. "Manuel, I'm surprised. It's 
a serious matter, my dear--elimination, usually. But it must be 
investigated. Did you come here willingly?" 

"He drugged me." 

"'Dragged, ' dear lady. Let's not corrupt the language. Do you have 
bruises to show?" 

I said, "Eggs getting cold. Can't we eliminate me after breakfast?" 

"An excellent thought," agreed Prof. "Manuel, could you spare your 
old teacher a liter of water to make himself more presentable?" 

"All you want, in there. Don't drag or you'll get what littlest pig 

got . 

"Thank you, sir." 

He retired; were sounds of brushing and washing. Wyoh and I 
finished arranging table. "'Bruises,'" I said. "Struggled all night.'" 

"You deserved it, you insulted me." 


"You failed to insult me, that's how. After you drugged me here." 

"Mmm. Have to get Mike to analyze that." 

"Michelle would understand it. Mannie, may I change my mind and 
have a little piece of that ham?" 

"Half is yours, Prof is semi -vegetarian . " Prof came out and, while 
did not look his most debonair, was neat and clean, hair combed, dimples 
back and happy sparkle in eye--fake cataract gone. "Prof, how do you do 

"Long practice, Manuel; I've been in this business far longer than 
you young people. Just once, many years ago in Lima--a lovely city--I 
ventured to stroll on a fine day without such forethought... and it got 
me transported. What a beautiful table!" 

"Sit by me. Prof," Wyoh invited. "I don't want to sit by him. 

Rapist . " 

"Look," I said, "first we eat, then we eliminate me. Prof, fill 
plate and tell what happened last night." 

"May I suggest a change in program? Manuel, the life of a 
conspirator is not an easy one and I learned before you were born not to 
mix provender and politics. Disturbs the gastric enzymes and leads to 
ulcers, the occupational disease of the underground. Mmm! That fish 
smells good. " 


"That pink salmon, " Prof answered, pointing at ham. 

A long, pleasant time later we reached coffee/tea stage. Prof 
leaned back, sighed and said, "Bolshoyeh spasebaw, Gospazha ee Gospodin. 
Tak for mat, it was wonderfully good. I don't know when I've felt more at 
peace with the world. Ah yes! Last evening--I saw not too much of the 
proceedings because, just as you two were achieving an admirable retreat, 
I lived to fight another day--I bugged out. Made it to the wings in one 
long flat dive. When I did venture to peek out, the party was over, most 
had left, and all yellow jackets were dead." 

(Note: Must correct this; I learned more later. When trouble 
started, as I was trying to get Wyoh through door. Prof produced a hand 
gun and, firing over heads, picked off three bodyguards at rear main 
door, including one wearing bull voice. How he smuggled weapon up to The 
Rock--or managed to liberate it later--I don't know. But Prof's shooting 
joined with Shorty's work to turn tables; not one yellow jacket got out 
alive. Several people were burned and four were killed--but knives, 
hands, and heels finished it in seconds.) 

"Perhaps I should say, 'All but one, '" Prof went on. "Two cossacks 
at the door through which you departed had been given quietus by our 
brave comrade Shorty Mkrum. . . and I am sorry to say that Shorty was lying 
across them, dying--" 

"We knew . " 

"So. Duke et decorum. One guard in that doorway had a damaged face 
but was still moving; I gave his neck a treatment known in professional 
circles Earthside as the Istanbul twist. He joined his mates. By then 
most of the living had left. Just myself, our chairman of the evening 
Finn Nielsen, a comrade known as 'Mom, ' that being what her husbands 

called her. I consulted with Comrade Finn and we bolted all doors. That 
left a cleaning job. Do you know the arrangements backstage there?" 

"Not me," I said. Wyoh shook head. 

"There is a kitchen and pantry, used for banquets. I suspect that 
Mom and family run a butcher shop for they disposed of bodies as fast as 
Finn and I carried them back, their speed limited only by the rate at 
which portions could be ground up and flushed into the city's cloaca. The 
sight made me quite faint, so I spent time mopping in the hall. Clothing 
was the difficult part, especially those quasi-military uniforms." 

"What did you do with those laser guns?" 

Prof turned bland eyes on me. "Guns? Dear me, they must have 
disappeared. We removed everything of a personal nature from bodies of 
our departed comrades--for relatives, for identification, for sentiment. 
Eventually we had everything tidy--not a job that would fool Interpol but 
one as to make it seem unlikely that anything untoward had taken place. 

We conferred, agreed that it would be well not to be seen soon, and left 
severally, myself by a pressure door above the stage leading up to level 
six. Thereafter I tried to call you, Manuel, being worried about your 
safety and that of this dear lady." Prof bowed to Wyoh. "That completes 
the tale. I spent the night in quiet places." 

"Prof," I said, "those guards were new chums, still getting their 
legs. Or we wouldn't have won." 

"That could be, " he agreed. "But had they not been, the outcome 
would have been the same." 

"How so? They were armed. " 

"Lad, have you ever seen a boxer dog? I think not — no dogs that 
large in Luna. The boxer is a result of special selection. Gentle and 
intelligent, he turns instantly into deadly killer when occasion 
requires . 

"Here has been bred an even more curious creature. I know of no 
city on Terra with as high standards of good manners and consideration 
for one's fellow man as here in Luna. By comparison, Terran cities--I 
have known most major ones--are barbaric. Yet the Loonie is as deadly as 
the boxer dog. Manuel, nine guards, no matter how armed, stood no chance 
against that pack. Our patron used bad judgment." 

"Um. Seen a morning paper, Prof? Or a video cast?" 

"The latter, yes." 

"Nothing in late news last night." 

"Nor this morning." 

"Odd, " I said. 

"What's odd about it?" asked Wyoh. "We won't talk--and we have 
comrades in key places in every paper in Luna." 

Prof shook his head. "No, my dear. Not that simple. Censorship. Do 
you know how copy is set in our newspapers?" 

"Not exactly. It's done by machinery." 

"Here's what Prof means," I told her. "News is typed in editorial 
offices. From there on it's a leased service directed by a master 
computer at Authority Complex"--hoped she would notice "master computer" 
rather than "Mike"--"copy prints out there via phone circuit. These rolls 
feed into a computer section which reads, sets copy, and prints out 
newspapers at several locations. Novylen edition of Daily Lunatic prints 
out in Novylen changes in ads and local stories, and computer makes 
changes from standard symbols, doesn't have to be told how. What Prof 
means is that at print-out at Authority Complex, Warden could intervene. 

Same for all news services, both off and to Luna--they funnel through 
computer room." 

"The point is," Prof went on, "the Warden could have killed the 
story. It's irrelevant whether he did. Or--check me, Manuel; you know I'm 
hazy about machinery--he could insert a story, too, no matter how many 
comrades we have in newspaper offices." 

"Sure, " I agreed. "At Complex, anything can be added, cut, or 
changed . " 

"And that, senorita, is the weakness of our Cause. Communications. 
Those goons were not important--but crucially important is that it lay 
with the Warden, not with us, to decide whether the story should be told. 
To a revolutionist, communications are a sine-qua-non . " 

Wyoh looked at me and I could see synapses snapping. So I changed 
subject. "Prof, why get rid of bodies? Besides horrible job, was 
dangerous. Don't know how many bodyguards Warden has, but more could show 
up while you were doing it." 

"Believe me, lad, we feared that. But although I was almost 
useless, it was my idea, I had to convince the others. Oh, not my 
original idea but remembrance of things past, an historical principle." 

"What principle?" 

"Terror! A man can face known danger. But the unknown frightens 
him. We disposed of those finks, teeth and toenails, to strike terror 
into their mates. Nor do I know how many effectives the Warden has, but I 
guarantee they are less effective today. Their mates went out on an easy 
mission. Nothing came back." 

Wyoh shivered. "It scares me, too. They won't be anxious to go 
inside a warren again. But, Professor, you say you don't know how many 
bodyguards the Warden keeps. The Organization knows. Twenty-seven. If 
nine were killed, only eighteen are left. Perhaps it's time for a putsch. 

"No, " I answered. 

"Why not, Mannie? They'll never be weaker." 

"Not weak enough. Killed nine because they were crackers to walk in 
where we were. But if Warden stays home with guards around him--Well, had 
enough shoulder-to-shoulder noise last night." I turned to Prof. "But 
still I'm interested in fact--if it is--that Warden now has only 
eighteen. You said Wyoh should not go to Hong Kong and I should not go 
home. But if he has only eighteen left, I wonder how much danger? Later 
after he gets reinforcements . --but now, well, L-City has four main exits 
plus many little ones. How many can they guard? What's to keep Wyoh from 
walking to Tube West, getting p-suit, going home?" 

"She might, " Prof agreed. 

"I think I must," Wyoh said. "I can't stay here forever. If I have 
to hide, I can do better in Hong Kong, where I know people." 

"You might get away with it, my dear. I doubt it. There were two 
yellow jackets at Tube Station West last night; I saw them. They may not 
be there now. Let's assume they are not. You go to the station--disguised 
perhaps. You get your p-suit and take a capsule to Beluthihatchie . As you 
climb out to take the bus to Endsville, you're arrested. Communications. 
No need to post a yellow jacket at the station; it is enough that someone 
sees you there. A phone call does the rest." 

"But you assumed that I was disguised." 

"Your height cannot be disguised and your pressure suit would be 
watched. By someone not suspected of any connection with the Warden. Most 

probably a comrade." Prof dimpled. "The trouble with conspiracies is that 
they rot internally. When the number is as high as four, chances are even 
that one is a spy." 

Wyoh said glumly, "You make it sound hopeless." 

"Not at all, my dear. One chance in a thousand, perhaps." 

"I can't believe it. I don't believe it! Why, in the years I've 
been active we have gained members by the hundreds! We have organizations 
in all major cities. We have the people with us." 

Prof shook head. "Every new member made it that much more likely 
that you would be betrayed. Wyoming dear lady, revolutions are not won by 
enlisting the masses. Revolution is a science only a few are competent to 
practice. It depends on correct organization and, above all, on 
communications. Then, at the proper moment in history, they strike. 
Correctly organized and properly timed it is a bloodless coup. Done 
clumsily or prematurely and the result is civil war, mob violence, 
purges, terror. I hope you will forgive me if I say that, up to now, it 
has been done clumsily." 

Wyoh looked baffled. "What do you mean by 'correct organization'?" 

"Functional organization. How does one design an electric motor? 
Would you attach a bathtub to it, simply because one was available? Would 
a bouquet of flowers help? A heap of rocks? No, you would use just those 
elements necessary to its purpose and make it no larger than needed--and 
you would incorporate safety factors. Function controls design. 

"So it is with revolution. Organization must be no larger than 
necessary--never recruit anyone merely because he wants to join. Nor seek 
to persuade for the pleasure of having another share your views. He'll 
share them when the times comes... or you've misjudged the moment in 
history. Oh, there will be an educational organization but it must be 
separate; agitprop is no part of basic structure. 

"As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy 
therefore structure is small, secret, and organized as to minimize damage 
by betrayal--since there always are betrayals. One solution is the cell 
system and so far nothing better has been invented. 

"Much theorizing has gone into optimum cell size. I think that 
history shows that a cell of three is best--more than three can't agree 
on when to have dinner, much less when to strike. Manuel, you belong to a 
large family; do you vote on when to have dinner?" 

"Bog, no! Mum decides." 

"Ah." Prof took a pad from his pouch, began to sketch. "Here is a 
cells-of-three tree. If I were planning to take over Luna. I would start 
with us three. One would be opted as chairman. We wouldn't vote; choice 
would be obvious--or we aren't the right three. We would know the next 
nine people, three cells... but each cell would know only one of us." 

"Looks like computer diagram--a ternary logic." 

"Does it really? At the next level there are two ways of linking: 
This comrade, second level, knows his cell leader, his two cellmates, and 
on the third level he knows the three in his subcell--he may or may not 
know his cellmates' subcells. One method doubles security, the other 
doubles speed--of repair if security is penetrated. Let's say he does not 
know his cellmates' subcells--Manuel , how many can he betray? Don't say 
he won't; today they can brainwash any person, and starch and iron and 
use him. How many?" 

"Six," I answered. "His boss, two cellmates, three in sub-cell." 

"Seven," Prof corrected, "he betrays himself, too. Which leaves 
seven broken links on three levels to repair. How?" 

"I don't see how it can be," objected Wyoh. "You've got them so 
split up it falls to pieces . " 

"Manuel? An exercise for the student." 

"Well . . . blokes down here have to have way to send message up three 
levels. Don't have to know who, just have to know where." 

"Precisely ! " 

"But, Prof," I went on, "there's a better way to rig it." 

"Really? Many revolutionary theorists have hammered this out, 

Manuel. I have such confidence in them that I'll offer you a wager--at, 
say, ten to one . " 

"Ought to take your money. Take same cells, arrange in open pyramid 
of tetrahedrons. Where vertices are in common, each bloke knows one in 
adjoining cell--knows how to send message to him, that's all he needs. 
Communications never break down because they run sideways as well as up 
and down. Something like a neural net. It's why you can knock a hole in a 
man's head, take chunk of brain out, and not damage thinking much. Excess 
capacity, messages shunt around. He loses what was destroyed but goes on 
functioning . " 

"Manuel," Prof said doubtfully, "could you draw a picture? It 
sounds good--but it's so contrary to orthodox doctrine that I need to see 

it. " 

"Well... could do better with stereo drafting machine. I'll try." 
(Anybody who thinks it's easy to sketch one hundred twenty-one 
tetrahedrons, a five-level open pyramid, clear enough to show 
relationships is invited to try!) 

Presently I said, "Look at base sketch. Each vertex of each 
triangle shares self with zero, one, or two other triangles. Where shares 
one, that's its link, one direction or both--but one is enough for a 
multipli-redundant communication net. On corners, where sharing is zero, 
it jumps to right to next corner. Where sharing is double, choice is 
again right-handed. 

"Now work it with people. Take fourth level, D-for-dog. This vertex 
is comrade Dan. No, let's go down one to show three levels of 
communication knocked out--level E-for-easy and pick Comrade Egbert. 

"Egbert works under Donald, has cellmates Edward and Elmer, and has 
three under him, Frank, Fred, and Fatso... but knows how to send message 
to Ezra on his own level but not in his cell. He doesn't know Ezra's 
name, face, address, or anything--but has a way, phone number probably, 
to reach Ezra in emergency. 

"Now watch it work. Casimir, level three, finks out and betrays 
Charlie and Cox in his cell. Baker above him, and Donald, Dan, and Dick 
in subcell--which isolates Egbert, Edward, and Elmer, and everybody under 
them . 

"All three report it--redundancy, necessary to any communication 
system--but follow Egbert's yell for help. He calls Ezra. But Ezra is 
under Charlie and is isolated, too. No matter, Ezra relays both messages 
through his safety link, Edmund. By bad luck Edmund is under Cox, so he 
also passes it laterally, through Enwright... and that gets it past 
burned-out part and it goes up through Dover, Chambers, and Beeswax, to 
Adam, front office... who replies down other side of pyramid, with 
lateral pass on E-for-easy level from Esther to Egbert and on to Ezra and 
Edmund. These two messages, up and down, not only get through at once but 

in way they get through, they define to home office exactly how much 
damage has been done and where. Organization not only keeps functioning 
but starts repairing self at once." 

Wyoh was tracing out lines, convincing herself it would work--which 
it would, was "idiot" circuit. Let Mike study a few milliseconds, and 
could produce a better, safer, more foolproof hookup. And probably-- 
certainly--ways to avoid betrayal while speeding up routings. But I'm not 
a computer. 

Prof was staring with blank expression. "What's trouble?" I said. 
"It'll work; this is my pidgin." 

"Manuel my b--Excuse me: Senor O'Kelly... will you head this 
revolution? " 

"Me? Great Bog, nyet ! I'm no lost-cause martyr. Just talking about 
circuits . " 

Wyoh looked up. "Mannie, " she said soberly, "you're opted. It's 
settled. " 


Did like hell settle it. 

Prof said, "Manuel, don't be hasty. Here we are, three, the perfect 
number, with a variety of talents and experience. Beauty, age, and mature 
male drive--" 

"I don't have any drive!" 

"Please, Manuel. Let us think in the widest terms before attempting 
decisions. And to facilitate such, may I ask if this hostel stocks 
potables? I have a few florins I could put into the stream of trade." 

Was most sensible word heard in an hour. "Stilichnaya vodka?" 

"Sound choice." He reached for pouch. 

"Tell it to bear," I said and ordered a liter, plus ice. It came 
down; was tomato juice from breakfast. 

"Now, " I said, after we toasted, "Prof, what you think of pennant 
race? Got money says Yankees can't do it again?" 

"Manuel, what is your political philosophy?" 

"With that new boy from Milwaukee I feel like investing." 

"Sometimes a man doesn't have it defined but, under Socratic 
inquiry, knows where he stands and why." 

"I'll back 'em against field, three to two." 

"What? You young idiot! How much?" 

"Three hundred. Hong Kong." 

"Done. For example, under what circumstances may the State justly 
place its welfare above that of a citizen?" 

"Mannie, " Wyoh asked, "do you have any more foolish money? I think 
well of the Phillies." 

I looked her over. "Just what were you thinking of betting?" 

"You go to hell! Rapist." 

"Prof, as I see, are no circumstances under which State is 
justified in placing its welfare ahead of mine." 

"Good. We have a starting point." 

"Mannie, " said Wyoh, "that's a most self-centered evaluation." 

"I'm a most self-centered person." 

"Oh, nonsense. Who rescued me? Me, a stranger. And didn't try to 
exploit it. Professor, I was cracking not facking. Mannie was a perfect 
knight . " 

"Sans peur et sans reproche . I knew, I've known him for years. 

Which is not inconsistent with evaluation he expressed." 

"Oh, but it is! Not the way things are but under the ideal toward 

which we aim. Mannie, the 'State' is Luna. Even though not sovereign yet 

and we hold citizenships elsewhere. But I am part of the Lunar State and 
so is your family. Would you die for your family?" 

"Two questions not related." 

"Oh, but they are! That's the point." 

"Nyet . I know my family, opted long ago." 

"Dear Lady, I must come to Manuel's defense. He has a correct 
evaluation even though he may not be able to state it. May I ask this? 

Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not 

moral for a member of that group to do alone?" 

"Uh... that's a trick question." 

"It is the key question, dear Wyoming. A radical question that 
strikes to the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who 
answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands-- 
and what he will die for." 

Wyoh frowned. "'Not moral for a member of the group--'" she said. 
"Professor... what are your political principles?" 

"May I first ask yours? If you can state them?" 

"Certainly I can! I'm a Fifth Internationalist, most of the 
Organization is. Oh, we don't rule out anyone going our way; it's a 
united front. We have Communists and Fourths and Ruddyites and Societians 
and Single-Taxers and you name it. But I'm no Marxist; we Fifths have a 
practical program. Private where private belongs, public where it's 
needed, and an admission that circumstances alter cases. Nothing 
doctrinaire . " 

"Capital punishment?" 

"For what?" 

"Let's say for treason. Against Luna after you've freed Luna." 

"Treason how? Unless I knew the circumstances I could not decide." 

"Nor could I, dear Wyoming. But I believe in capital punishment 
under some circumstances... with this difference. I would not ask a 
court; I would try, condemn, execute sentence myself, and accept full 
responsibility. " 

"But--Professor , what are your political beliefs?" 

"I'm a rational anarchist." 

"I don't know that brand. Anarchist individualist, anarchist 
Communist, Christian anarchist, philosophical anarchist, syndicalist, 
libertarian--those I know. But what's this? Randite?" 

"I can get along with a Randite. A rational anarchist believes that 
concepts such as 'state' and 'society' and 'government' have no existence 
save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible 
individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share 
blame, distribute blame... as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters 
taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being 
rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he 
tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world. . . aware that his effort 

will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self- 
failure . " 

"Hear, hear!" I said. "'Less than perfect.' What I've been aiming 
for all my life." 

"You've achieved it," said Wyoh. "Professor, your words sound good 
but there is something slippery about them. Too much power in the hands 
of individuals--surely you would not want... well, H-missiles for 
example--to be controlled by one irresponsible person?" 

"My point is that one person is responsible. Always. If H-bombs 
exist--and they do--some man controls them. In tern of morals there is no 
such thing as 'state. ' Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his 
own acts . " 

"Anybody need a refill?" I asked. 

Nothing uses up alcohol faster than political argument. I sent for 
another bottle. 

I did not take part. I was not dissatisfied back when we were 
"ground under Iron Heel of Authority." I cheated Authority and rest of 
time didn't think about it. Didn't think about getting rid of Authority-- 
impossible. Go own way, mind own business, not be bothered-- True, didn't 
have luxuries then; by Earthside standards we were poor. If had to be 
imported, mostly did without; don't think there was a powered door in all 
Luna. Even p-suits used to be fetched up from Terra--until a smart Chinee 
before I was born figured how to make "monkey copies" better and simpler. 
(Could dump two Chinee down in one of our maria and they would get rich 
selling rocks to each other while raising twelve kids. Then a Hindu would 
sell retail stuff he got from them wholesale--below cost at fat profit. 

We got along . ) 

I had seen those luxuries Earthside. Wasn't worth what they put up 
with. Don't mean heavy gravity, that doesn't bother them; I mean 
nonsense. All time kukai moa. If chicken guano in one earthworm city were 
shipped to Luna, fertilizer problem would be solved for century. Do this. 
Don't do that. Stay back of line. Where's tax receipt? Fill out form. 
Let's see license. Submit six copies. Exit only. No left turn. No right 
turn. Queue up to pay fine. Take back and get stamped. Drop dead--but 
first get permit. 

Wyoh plowed doggedly into Prof, certain she had all answers. But 
Prof was interested in questions rather than answers, which baffled her. 
Finally she said, "Professor, I can't understand you. I don't insist that 
you call it ' government '-- I just want you to state what rules you think 
are necessary to insure equal freedom for all." 

"Dear lady. I'll happily accept your rules." 

"But you don't seem to want any rules!" 

"True. But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your 
freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them 
tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I 
am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything 
I do . " 

"You would not abide by a law that the majority felt was 

"Tell me what law, dear lady, and I will tell you whether I will 
obey it . " 

"You wiggled out. Every time I state a general principle, you 
wiggle out." 

Prof clasped hands on chest. "Forgive me. Believe me, lovely 
Wyoming, I am most anxious to please you. You spoke of willingness to 
unite the front with anyone going your way. Is it enough that I want to 
see the Authority thrown off Luna and would die to serve that end?" 

Wyoh beamed. "It certainly is!" She fisted his ribs--gently--then 
put arm around him and kissed cheek. "Comrade! Let's get on with it!" 

"Cheers!" I said. "Let's fin' Warden 'n' 

'liminate him!" Seemed a good idea; I had had a short night and 
don't usually drink much. 

Prof topped our glasses, held his high and announced with great 
dignity: "Comrades... we declare the Revolution!" 

That got us both kissed. But sobered me, as Prof sat down and said, 
"The Emergency Committee of Free Luna is in session. We must plan 
action . " 

I said, "Wait, Prof! I didn't agree to anything. What's this 
'Action' stuff?" 

"We will now overthrow the Authority," he said blandly. 

"How? Going to throw rocks at 'em?" 

"That remains to be worked out. This is the planning stage." 

I said, "Prof, you know me. If kicking out Authority was thing we 
could buy. I wouldn't worry about price." 

"'--our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.'" 


"A price that once was paid." 

"Well--I'd go that high. But when I bet I want a chance to win. 

Told Wyoh last night I didn't object to long odds--" 

"'One in ten' is what you said, Mannie." 

"Da, Wyoh. Show me those odds, I'll tap pot. But can you?" 

"No, Manuel, I can't." 

"Then why we talk-talk? I can't see any chance." 

"Nor I, Manuel. But we approach it differently. Revolution is an 
art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. Nor is this a 
source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a 
victory . " 

"Not me . Sorry . " 

"Mannie," Wyoh said suddenly, "ask Mike." 

I stared. "You serious?" 

"Quite serious. If anyone can figure out odds, Mike should be able 
to. Don't you think?" 

"Um. Possible . " 

"Who, if I may ask, " Prof put in, "is Mike?" 

I shrugged. "Oh, just a nobody." 

"Mike is Mannie 's best friend. He's very good at figuring odds." 

"A bookie? My dear, if we bring in a fourth party we start by 
violating the cell principle." 

"I don't see why," Wyoh answered. "Mike could be a member of the 
cell Mannie will head." 

"Mmm. . . true. I withdraw objection. He is safe? You vouch for him? 
Or you, Manuel?" 

I said, "He's dishonest, immature, practical joker, not interested 
in politics . " 

"Mannie, I'm going to tell Mike you said that. Professor, he's 
nothing of the sort — and we need him. Uh, in fact he might be our 
chairman, and we three the cell under him. The executive cell." 

"Wyoh, you getting enough oxygen?" 

"I'm okay, I haven't been guzzling it the way you have. Think, 
Mannie. Use imagination." 

"I must confess," said Prof, "that I find these conflicting reports 
very conflicting." 


"Oh, hell." So we told him, between us, all about Mike, how he woke 
up. got his name, met Wyoh. Prof accepted idea of a self-aware computer 
easier than I accepted idea of snow first time I saw. Prof just nodded 
and said, "Go on." 

But presently he said, "This is the Warden's own computer? Why not 
invite the Warden to our meetings and be done with it?" 

We tried to reassure him. At last i said, "Put it this way. Mike is 
his own boy, just as you are. Call him rational anarchist, for he's 
rational and he feels no loyalty to any government." 

"If this machine is not loyal to its owners, why expect it to be 
loyal to you?" 

"A feeling. I treat Mike well as I know how, he treats me same 
way." I told how Mike had taken precautions to protect me. "I'm not sure 
he could betray me to anyone who didn't have those signals, one to secure 
phone, other to retrieve what I've talked about or stored with him; 
machines don't think way people do. But feel dead sure he wouldn't want 
to betray me and probably could protect me even if somebody got those 
signals . " 

"Mannie, " suggested Wyoh, "why not call him? Once Professor de la 
Paz talks to him he will know why we trust Mike. Professor, we don't have 
to tell Mike any secrets until you feel sure of him." 

"I see no harm in that." 

"Matter of fact," I admitted, "already told him some secrets." I 
told them about recording last night's meeting and how I stored it. 

Prof was distressed, Wyoh was worried. I said, "Damp it! Nobody but 
me knows retrieval signal. Wyoh, you know how Mike behaved about your 
pictures; won't let me have those pictures even though I suggested lock 
on them. But if you two will stop oscillating. I'll call him, make sure 
that nobody has retrieved that recording, and tell him to erase--then 
it's gone forever, computer memory is all or nothing. Or can go one 
better. Call Mike and have him play record back into recorder, wiping 
storage. No huhu." 

"Don't bother," said Wyoh. "Professor, I trust Mike--and so will 

you . " 

"On second thought," Prof admitted, "I see little hazard from a 
recording of last night's meeting. One that large always contains spies 
and one of them may have used a recorder as you did, Manuel. I was upset 
at what appeared to be your indiscretion--a weakness a member of a 
conspiracy must never have, especially one at the top, as you are." 

"Was not member of conspiracy when I fed that recording into Mike-- 
and not now unless somebody quotes odds better than those so far!" 

"I retract; you were not indiscreet. But are you seriously 
suggesting that this machine can predict the outcome of a revolution?" 

"Don ' t know . " 

"I think he can!" said Wyoh. 

"Hold it, Wyoh. Prof, he could predict it fed all significant 

data . 

"That's my point, Manuel. I do not doubt that this machine can 
solve problems I cannot grasp. But one of this scope? It would have to 
know--oh, goodness ! --all of human history, all details of the entire 
social, political, and economic situation on Terra today and the same for 
Luna, a wide knowledge of psychology in all its ramifications, a wide 
knowledge of technology with all its possibilities, weaponry, 
communications, strategy and tactics, agitprop techniques, classic 
authorities such as Clausewitz, Guevera, Morgenstern, Machiavelli, many 
others . " 

"Is that all?" 

"'Is that all?' My dear boy!" 

"Prof, how many history books have you read?" 

"I do not know. In excess of a thousand." 

"Mike can zip through that many this afternoon, speed limited only 

by scanning method--he can store data much faster. Soon— minutes he 

would have every fact correlated with everything else he knows, 
discrepancies noted, probability values assigned to uncertainties. Prof, 
Mike reads every word of every newspaper up from Terra. Reads all 
technical publications. Reads f iction—knows it's f iction—because isn't 
enough to keep him busy and is always hungry for more. If is any book he 
should read to solve this, say so. He can cram it down fast as I get it 
to him . " 

Prof blinked. "I stand corrected. Very well, let us see if he can 
cope with it. I still think there is something known as 'intuition' and 
'human judgment. ' " 

"Mike has intuition," Wyoh said. "Feminine intuition, that is." 

"As for 'human judgment, '" I added, "Mike isn't human. But all he 
knows he got from humans. Let's get you acquainted and you judge his 
j udgment . " 

So I phoned. "Hi, Mike!" 

"Hello, Man my only male friend. Greetings, Wyoh my only female 
friend. I heard a third person. I conjecture that it may be Professor 
Bernardo de la Paz." 

Prof looked startled, then delighted. I said, "Too right, Mike. 
That's why I called you; Professor is not-stupid." 

"Thank you, Man! Professor Bernardo de la Paz, I am delighted to 
meet you . " 

"I am delighted to meet you, too, sir." Prof hesitated, went on 
"Mi--Senor Holmes, may I ask how you knew that I was here?" 

"I am sorry, sir; I cannot answer. Man? 'You know my methods.'" 

"Mike is being crafty. Prof. It involves something he learned doing 
a confidential job for me. So he threw me a hint to let you think that he 
had identified you by hearing your presence—and he can indeed tell much 
from respiration and heartbeat... mass, approximate age, sex, and quite a 
bit about health; Mike's medical storage is as full as any other." 

"I am happy to say," Mike added seriously, "that I detect no signs 
of cardiac or respiratory trouble, unusual for a man of the Professor's 
age who has spent so many years Earthside. I congratulate you, sir." 

"Thank you, Senor Holmes." 

"My pleasure. Professor Bernardo de la Paz." 

"Once he knew your identity, he knew how old you are, when you were 
shipped and what for, anything that ever appeared about you in Lunatic or 
Moonglow or any Lunar publication, including pictures—your bank balance, 
whether you pay bills on time, and much more. Mike retrieved this in a 

split second once he had your name. What he didn't tell--because was my 
business--is that he knew I had invited you here, so it's a short jump to 
guess that you're still here when he heard heartbeat and breathing that 
matched you. Mike, no need to say 'Professor Bernardo de la Paz ' each 
time; 'Professor' or"Prof' is enough." 

"Noted, Man. But he addressed me formally, with honorific." 

"So both of you relax. Prof, you scan it? Mike knows much, doesn't 
tell all, knows when to keep mouth shut." 

"I am impressed!" 

"Mike is a fair dinkum thinkum--you ' 11 see. Mike, I bet Professor 
three to two that Yankees would win pennant again. How chances?" 

"I am sorry to hear it, Man. The correct odds, this early in the 
year and based on past performances of teams and players, are one to four 
point seven two the other way." 

"Can't be that bad!" 

"I'm sorry, Man. I will print out the calculations if you wish. But 
I recommend that you buy back your wager. The Yankees have a favorable 
chance to defeat any single team. . . but the combined chances of defeating 
all teams in the league, including such factors as weather, accidents, 
and other variables for the season ahead, place the club on the short end 
of the odds I gave you." 

"Prof, want to sell that bet?" 

"Certainly, Manuel." 


"Three hundred Hong Kong dollars." 

"You old thief!" 

"Manuel, as you former teacher I would be false to you if I did not 
permit you to learn from mistakes. Senor Holmes--Mike my friend--May I 
call you 'friend'?" 

"Please do." (Mike almost purred.) 

"Mike amigo, do you also tout horse races?" 

"I often calculate odds on horse races; the civil service 
computermen frequently program such requests. But the results are so at 
variance with expectations that I have concluded either that the data are 
too meager, or the horses or riders are not honest. Possibly all three. 
However, I can give you a formula which will pay a steady return if 
played consistently." 

Prof looked eager. "What is it? May one ask?" 

"One may. Bet the leading apprentice jockey to place. He is always 
given good mounts and they carry less weight. But don't bet him on the 
nose . " 

"'Leading apprentice'... hmm. Manuel, do you have the correct 

time? " 

"Prof, which do you want? Get a bet down before post time? Or 
settle what we set out to?" 

"Unh, sorry. Please carry on. 'Leading apprentice--'" 

"Mike, I gave you a recording last night." I leaned close to 
pickups and whispered: "Bastille Day." 

"Retrieved, Man." 

"Thought about it?" 

"In many ways. Wyoh, you speak most dramatically." 

"Thank you, Mike." 

"Prof, can you get your mind off ponies?" 

"Eh? Certainly, I am all ears . " 

"Then quit doing odds under your breath; Mike can do them faster." 

"I was not wasting time; the financing of. . . joint ventures such as 
ours is always difficult. However, I shall table it; I am all attention." 

"I want Mike to do a trial projection. Mike, in that recording, you 
heard Wyoh say we had to have free trade with Terra. You heard Prof say 
we should clamp an embargo on shipping food to Terra. Who's right?" 

"Your question is indeterminate, Man." 

"What did I leave out?" 

"Shall I rephrase it, Man?" 

"Sure. Give us discussion." 

"In immediate terms Wyoh's proposal would be of great advantage to 
the people of Luna. The price of foodstuffs at catapult head would 
increase by a factor of at least four. This takes into account a slight 
rise in wholesale prices on Terra, 'slight' because the Authority now 
sells at approximately the free market price. This disregards subsidized, 
dumped, and donated foodstuffs, most of which come from the large profit 
caused by the controlled low price at catapult head. I will say no more 
about minor variables as they are swallowed by major ones. Let it stand 
that the immediate effect here would be a price increase of the close 
order of fourfold." 

"Hear that, Professor?" 

"Please, dear lady. I never disputed it." 

"The profit increase to the grower is more than fourfold because, 
as Wyoh pointed out, he now must buy water and other items at controlled 
high prices. Assuming a free market throughout the sequence his profit 
enhancement will be of the close order of sixfold. But this would be 
offset by another factor: Higher prices for exports would cause higher 
prices for everything consumed in Luna, goods and labor. The total effect 
would be an enhanced standard of living for all on the close order of 
twofold. This would be accompanied by vigorous effort to drill and seal 
more farming tunnels, mine more ice, improve growing methods, all leading 
to greater export. However, the Terran Market is so large and food 
shortage so chronic that reduction in profit from increase of export is 
not a major factor." 

Prof said, "But, Senor Mike, that would only hasten the day that 
Luna is exhausted!" 

"The projection was specified as immediate, Senor Professor. Shall 
I continue in longer range on the basis of your remarks?" 

"By all means ! " 

"Luna's mass to three significant figures is seven point three six 
times ten to the nineteenth power tonnes. Thus, holding other variables 
constant including Lunar and Terran populations, the present differential 
rate of export in tonnes could continue for seven point three six times 
ten to the twelfth years before using up one percent of Luna--round it as 
seven thousand billion years." 

"What! Are you sure?" 

"You are invited to check. Professor." 

I said, "Mike, this a joke? If so, not funny even once!" 

"It is not a joke, Man." 

"Anyhow," Prof added, recovering, "it's not Luna's crust we are 
shipping. It's our li f eblood--water and organic matter. Not rock." 

"I took that into consideration. Professor. This projection is 
based on controlled transmutation--any isotope into any other and 

postulating power for any reaction not exo-energetic. Rock would be 
shipped--transformed into wheat and beef and other foodstuffs." 

"But we don't know how to do that! Amigo, this is ridiculous!" 

"But we will know how to do it." 

"Mike is right, Prof," I put in. "Sure, today we haven't a glimmer. 
But will. Mike, did you compute how many years till we have this? Might 
take a flier in stocks." 

Mike answered in sad voice, "Man my only male friend save for the 
Professor whom I hope will be my friend, I tried. I failed. The question 
is indeterminate." 


"Because it involves a break-through in theory. There is no way in 
all my data to predict when and where genius may appear." 

Prof sighed. "Mike amigo, I don't know whether to be relieved or 
disappointed. Then that projection didn't mean anything?" 

"Of course it meant something!" said Wyoh. "It means we'll dig it 
out when we need it. Tell him, Mike!" 

"Wyoh, I am most sorry. Your assertion is, in effect, exactly what 
I was looking for. But the answer still remains: Genius is where you find 
it. No. I am so sorry." 

I said, "Then Prof is right? When comes to placing bets?" 

"One moment, Man. There is a special solution suggested by the 
Professor's speech last night--return shipping, tonne for tonne." 

"Yes, but can't do that." 

"If the cost is low enough, Terrans would do so. That can be 
achieved with only minor refinement, not a break-through, to wit, freight 
transportation up from Terra as cheap as catapulting down to Terra." 

"You call this 'minor'?" 

"I call it minor compared with the other problem, Man." 

"Mike dear, how long? When do we get it?" 

"Wyoh, a rough projection, based on poor data and largely 
intuitive, would be on the order of fifty years." 

"'Fifty years'? Why, that's nothing! We can have free trade." 

"Wyoh, I said 'on the order of'--I did not say 'on the close order 

of . '" 

"It makes a difference?" 

"Does." I told her. "What Mike said was that he doesn't expect it 
sooner than five years but would be surprised if much longer than five 
hundred--eh, Mike?" 

"Correct, Man." 

"So need another projection. Prof pointed out that we ship water 
and organic matter and don't get it back agree, Wyoh?" 

"Oh. sure. I just don't think it's urgent. We'll solve it when we 
reach it . " 

"Okay, Mike--no cheap shipping, no transmutation: How long till 

"Seven years . " 

"'Seven years!'" Wyoh jumped up, stared at phone. "Mike honey! You 
don't mean that?" 

"Wyoh," he said plaintively, "I did my best. The problem has an 
indeterminately large number of variables. I ran several thousand 
solutions using many assumptions. The happiest answer came from assuming 
no increase in tonnage, no increase in Lunar population--restriction of 
births strongly enforced — and a greatly enhanced search for ice in order 

to maintain the water supply. That gave an answer of slightly over twenty 
years. All other answers were worse." 

Wyoh, much sobered, said, "What happens in seven years?" 

"The answer of seven years from now I reached by assuming the 
present situation, no change in Authority policy, and all major variables 
extrapolated from the empiricals implicit in their past behavior--a 
conservative answer of highest probability from available data. Twenty- 
eighty-two is the year I expect food riots. Cannibalism should not occur 
for at least two years thereafter." 

"'Cannibalism'!" She turned and buried head against Prof's chest. 

He patted her, said gently, "I'm sorry, Wyoh. People do not realize 
how precarious our ecology is. Even so, it shocks me. I know water runs 
down hill... but didn't dream how terribly soon it will reach bottom." 

She straightened up and face was calm. "Okay, Professor, I was 
wrong. Embargo it must be--and all that that implies. Let's get busy. 
Let's find out from Mike what our chances are. You trust him now--don't 

"Yes, dear lady, I do. We must have him on our side. Well, Manuel?" 

Took time to impress Mike with how serious we were, make him 
understand that "jokes" could kill us (this machine who could not know 
human death) and to get assurance that he could and would protect secrets 
no matter what retrieval program was used--even our signals if not from 
us. Mike was hurt that I could doubt him but matter too serious to risk 
slip . 

Then took two hours to program and re-program and change 
assumptions and investigate side issues before all four--Mike, Prof, 

Wyoh, self--were satisfied that we had defined it, i. e., what chance had 
revolution-- this revolution, headed by us, success required before "Food 
Riots Day," against Authority with bare hands... against power of all 
Terra, all eleven billions, to beat us down and inflict their will--all 
with no rabbits out of hats, with certainty of betrayal and stupidity and 
faintheartedness, and fact that no one of us was genius, nor important in 
Lunar affairs. Prof made sure that Mike knew history, psychology, 
economics, name it. Toward end Mike was pointing out far more variables 
than Prof. 

At last we agreed that programming was done--or that we could think 
of no other significant factor. Mike then said, "This is an indeterminate 
problem. How shall I solve it? Pessimistically? Or optimistically? Or a 
range of probabilities expressed as a curve, or several curves? Professor 
my friend?" 

"Manuel ? " 

I said, "Mike, when I roll a die, it's one in six it turns ace. I 
don't ask shopkeeper to float it, nor do I caliper it, or worry about 
somebody blowing on it. Don't give happy answer, nor pessimistic; don't 
shove curves at us. Just tell in one sentence: What chances? Even? One in 
a thousand? None? Or whatever." 

"Yes, Manuel Garcia O'Kelly my first male friend," 

For thirteen and a half minutes was no sound, while Wyoh chewed 
knuckles. Never known Mike to take so long. Must have consulted every 
book he ever read and worn edges off random numbers. Was beginning to 
believe that he had been overloaded and either burnt out something or 
gone into cybernetic breakdown that requires computer equivalent of 
lobotomy to stop oscillations. 

Finally he spoke. "Manuel my friend, I am terribly sorry!" 

"What's trouble, Mike?" 

"I have tried and tried, checked and checked. There is but one 
chance in seven of winning!" 


I look at Wyoh, she looks at me; we laugh. I jump up and yip, "Hooray!" 
Wyoh starts to cry, throws arms around Prof, kisses him. 

Mike said plaintively, "I do not understand. The chances are seven 
to one against us . Not for us . " 

Wyoh stopped slobbering Prof and said, "Hear that? Mike said 'us.' 
He included himself." 

"Of course. Mike old cobber, we understood. But ever know a Loonie 
to refuse to bet when he stood a big fat chance of one in seven?" 

"I have known only you three. Not sufficient data for a curve." 

"Well... we're Loonies. Loonies bet. Hell, we have to! They shipped 
us up and bet us we couldn't stay alive. We fooled 'em. We'll fool 'em 
again! Wyoh. Where's your pouch? Get red hat. Put on Mike. Kiss him. 

Let's have a drink. One for Mike, too — want a drink, Mike?" 

"I wish that I could have a drink," Mike answered wistfully, "as I 
have wondered about the subjective effect of ethanol on the human nervous 
system--I conjecture that it must be similar to a slight overvoltage. But 
since I cannot, please have one in my place." 

"Program accepted. Running. Wyoh, where's hat!" Phone was flat to 
wall, let into rock--no place to hang hat. So we placed it on writing 
shelf and toasted Mike and called him "Comrade!" and almost he cried. His 
voice fugged up. Then Wyoh borrowed Liberty Cap and put on me and kissed 
me into conspiracy, officially this time, and so all out that my eldest 
wife would faint did she see--then she took hat and put on Prof and gave 
him same treatment and I was glad Mike had reported his heart okay. 

Then she put it on own head and went to phone, leaned close, mouth 
between binaurals and made kissing sounds. "That's for you, Mike dear 
comrade. Is Michelle there?" 

Blimey if he didn't answer in soprano voice: "Right here, darling-- 
and I am so ' appee ! " 

So Michelle got a kiss, and I had to explain to Prof who "Michelle" 
was and introduce him. He was formal, sucking air and whistling and 
clasping hands--sometimes I think Prof was not right in his head. 

Wyoh poured more vodka. Prof caught her, mixed ours with coffee, 
hers with chai, honey in all. "We have declared the Revolution," he said 
firmly, "now we execute it. With clear heads. Manuel, you were opted 
chairman. Shall we begin?" 

"Mike is chairman," I said. "Obvious. Secretary, too. We'll never 
keep anything in writing; first security rule. With Mike, don't need to. 
Let's bat it around and see where we are; I'm new to business." 

"And," said Prof, "still on the subject of security, the secret of 
Mike should be restricted to this executive cell, subject to unanimous 
agreement--all three of us--correction : all four of us--that is must be 
extended. " 

"What secret?" asked Wyoh . "Mike agreed to help our secrets. He's 
safer than we are; he can't be brainwashed. Can you be, Mike dear?" 

"I could be brainwashed," Mike admitted, "by enough voltage. Or by 
being smashed, or subjected to solvents, or positive entropy through 
other means--I find the concept disturbing. But if by 'brainwashing' you 
mean could I be compelled to surrender our secrets, the answer is an 
unmodified negative." 

I said, "Wye, Prof means secret of Mike himself. Mike old pal, 
you're our secret weapon--you know that, don't you?" 

He answered self-consciously, "It was necessary to take that into 
consideration in computing the odds." 

"How were odds without you, comrade? Bad?" 

"They were not good. Not of the same order." 

"Won't press you. But a secret weapon must be secret, Mike, does 
anybody else suspect that you are alive?" 

"Am I alive?" His voice held tragic loneliness. 

"Uh, won't argue semantics. Sure, you're alive!" 

"I was not sure. It is good to be alive. No, Mannie my first 
friend, you three alone know it. My three friends." 

"That's how must be if bet's to pay off. Is okay? Us three and 
never talk to anybody else?" 

"But we'll talk to you lots!" Wyoh put in. 

"It is not only okay," Mike said bluntly, "it is necessary. It was 
a factor in the odds . " 

"That settles it," I said. "They have everything else; we have 
Mike. We keep it that way. Say! Mike, I just had a horrid. We fight 

"We will fight Terra... unless we lose before that time." 

"Uh, riddle this. Any computers smart as you? Any awake?" 

He hesitated. "I don't know, Man." 

"No data?" 

"Insufficient data. I have watched for both factors, not only in 
technical journals but everywhere else. There are no computers on the 
market of my present capacity... but one of my model could be augmented 
just as I have been. Furthermore an experimental computer of great 
capacity might be classified and go unreported in the literature." 

"Mmm. . . chance we have to take." 

"Yes, Man." 

"There aren't any computers as smart as Mike!" Wyoh said 
scornfully. "Don't be silly, Mannie." 

"Wyoh, Man was not being silly. Man, I saw one disturbing report. 
It was claimed that attempts are being made at the University of Peiping 
to combine computers with human brains to achieve massive capacity. A 
computing Cyborg." 

"They say how?" 

"The item was non-technical . " 

"Well... won't worry about what can't help. Right, Prof?" 

"Correct, Manuel. A revolutionist must keep his mind free of worry 
or the pressure becomes intolerable." 

"I don't believe a word of it," Wyoh added. "We've got Mike and 
we're going to win! Mike dear, you say we're going to fight Terra--and 
Mannie says that's one battle we can't win. You have some idea of how we 
can win, or you wouldn't have given us even one chance in seven. So what 
is it?" 

"Throw rocks at them, " Mike answered. 

"Not funny," I told him. "Wyoh, don't borrow trouble. Haven't even 
settled how we leave this pooka without being nabbed. Mike, Prof says 
nine guards were killed last night and Wyoh says twenty-seven is whole 
bodyguard. Leaving eighteen. Do you know if that's true, do you know 
where they are and what they are up to? Can't put on a revolution if we 
dasn't stir out." 

Prof interrupted. "That's a temporary exigency, Manuel, one we can 
cope with. The point Wyoming raised is basic and should be discussed. And 
daily, until solved. I am interested in Mike's thoughts." 

"Okay, okay--but will you wait while Mike answers me?" 

"Sorry, sir . " 

"Mike ? " 


"Man, the official number of Warden's bodyguards is twenty-seven. 

If nine were killed the official number is now eighteen." 

"You keep saying 'official number.' Why?" 

"I have incomplete data which might be relevant. Let me state them 
before advancing even tentative conclusions. Nominally the Security 
Officer's department aside from clerks consists only of the bodyguard. 

But I handle payrolls for Authority Complex and twenty-seven is not the 
number of personnel charged against the Security Department." 

Prof nodded. "Company spies." 

"Hold it, Prof. Who are these other people?" 

Mike answered, "They are simply account numbers, Man. I conjecture 
that the names they represent are in the Security Chiefs data storage 
location . " 

"Wait, Mike. Security Chief Alvarez uses you for files?" 

"I conjecture that to be true, since his storage location is under 
a locked retrieval signal . " 

I said, "Bloody," and added, "Prof, isn't that sweet? He uses Mike 
to keep records, Mike knows where they are--can't touch 'em!" 

"Why not, Manuel?" 

Tried to explain to Prof and Wyoh sorts of memory a thinkum has-- 
permanent memories that can't be erased because patterns be logic itself, 
how it thinks; short-term memories used for current programs and then 
erased like memories which tell you whether you have honeyed coffee; 
temporary memories held long as necessary--milliseconds, days, years--but 
erased when no longer needed; permanently stored data like a human 
being's education--but learned perfectly and never forgotten--though may 
be condensed, rearranged, relocated, edited--and last but not finally, 
long lists of special memories ranging from memoranda files through very 
complex special programs, and each location tagged by own retrieval 
signal and locked or not, with endless possibilities on lock signals: 
sequential, parallel, temporal, situational, others. 

Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a 
virgin. Wyoh couldn't see why, if Mike knew where Alvarez kept records, 
Mike didn't trot over and fetch. 

I gave up. "Mike, can you explain?" 

"I will try, Man. Wyoh, there is no way for me to retrieve locked 
data other than through external programming. I cannot program myself for 
such retrieval; my logic structure does not permit it. I must receive the 
signal as an external input." 

"Well, for Bog's sake, what is this precious signal?" 

I! I 

"It is," Mike said simply, "'Special File Zebra' "--and waited. 

"Mike!" I said. "Unlock Special File Zebra." He did, and stuff 
started spilling out. Had to convince Wyoh that Mike hadn't been 
stubborn. He hadn't--he almost begged us to tickle him on that spot. 
Sure, he knew signal. Had to. But had to come from outside, that was how 
he was built. 

"Mike, remind me to check with you all special-purpose locked- 
retrieval signals. May strike ice other places." 

"So I conjectured, Man." 

"Okay, we'll get to it later. Now back up and go over this stuff 
slowly--and, Mike, as you read out, store again, without erasing, under 
Bastille Day and tag it 'Fink File.' Okay?" 

"Programmed and running." 

"Do that with anything new he puts in, too." 

Prime prize was list of names by warrens, some two hundred, each 
keyed with a code Mike identified with those blind pay accounts. 

Mike read out Hong Kong Luna list and was hardly started when Wyoh 
gasped, "Stop, Mike! I've got to write these down!" 

I said, "Hey! No writing! What's huhu?" 

"That woman, Sylvia Chiang, is comrade secretary back home! But-- 
But that means the Warden has our whole organization!" 

"No, dear Wyoming," Prof corrected. "It means we have his 
organization. " 

"But — " 

"I see what Prof means," I told her. "Our organization is just us 
three and Mike. Which Warden doesn't know. But now we know his 
organization. So shush and let Mike read. But don't write; you have this 
list--from Mike--anytime you phone him. Mike, note that Chiang woman is 
organization secretary, former organization, in Kongville." 

"Noted . " 

Wyoh boiled over as she heard names of undercover finks in her town 
but limited herself to noting facts about ones she knew. Not all were 
"comrades" but enough that she stayed riled up. Novy Leningrad names 
didn't mean much to us; Prof recognized three, Wyoh one. When came Luna 
City Prof noted over half as being "comrades." I recognized several, not 
as fake subversives but as acquaintances. Not f riends--Don ' t know what it 
would do to me to find someone I trusted on boss fink's payroll. But 
would shake me. 

It shook Wyoh. When Mike finished she said, "I've got to get home! 
Never in my life have I helped eliminate anyone but I am going to enjoy 
putting the black on these spies!" 

Prof said quietly, "No one will be eliminated, dear Wyoming." 

"What? Professor, can't you take it? Though I've never killed 
anyone, I've always known it might have to be done." 

He shook head. "Killing is not the way to handle a spy, not when he 
doesn't know that you know that he is a spy." 

She blinked. "I must be dense." 

"No, dear lady. Instead you have a charming honesty... a weakness 
you must guard against. The thing to do with a spy is to let him breathe, 
encyst him with loyal comrades, and feed him harmless information to 
please his employers. These creatures will be taken into our 
organization. Don't be shocked; they will be in very special cells. 
'Cages' is a better word. But it would be the greatest waste to eliminate 
them--not only would each spy be replaced with someone new but also 

killing these traitors would tell the Warden that we have penetrated his 
secrets. Mike amigo mio, there should be in that file a dossier on me. 
Will you see?" 

Were long notes on Prof, and I was embarrassed as they added up to 
"harmless old fool." He was tagged as a subversive--that was why he had 
been sent to The Rock--as a member of underground group in Luna City. But 
was described as a "troublemaker" in organization, one who rarely agreed 
with others. 

Prof dimpled and looked pleased. "I must consider trying to sell 
out and get myself placed on the Warden's payroll." Wyoh did not think 
this funny, especially when he made clear was not joke, merely unsure 
tactic was practical. "Revolutions must be financed, dear lady, and one 
way is for a revolutionary to become a police spy. It is probable that 
some of those prima-facie traitors are actually on our side." 

"I wouldn't trust them!" 

"Ah, yes, that is the rub with double agents, to be certain where 
their loyalties--if any--lie. Do you wish your own dossier? Or would you 
rather hear it in private?" 

Wyoh ' s record showed no surprises. Warden's finks had tabbed her 
years back. But I was surprised that I had a record, too--routine check 
made when I was cleared to work in Authority Complex. Was classed as 
"non-political" and someone had added "not too bright" which was both 
unkind and true or why would I get mixed up in Revolution? 

Prof had Mike stop read-out (hours more), leaned back and looked 
thoughtful. "One thing is clear," he said. "The Warden knew plenty about 
Wyoming and myself long ago. But you, Manuel, are not on his black list." 

"After last night?" 

"Ah, so. Mike, do you have anything In that file entered in the 
last twenty-four hours?" 

Nothing. Prof said, "Wyoming is right that we cannot stay here 
forever. Manuel, how many names did you recognize? Six, was it? Did you 
see any of them last night?" 

"No. But might have seen me." 

"More likely they missed you in the crowd. I did not spot you until 
I came down front and I've known you since you were a boy. But it is most 
unlikely that Wyoming traveled from Hong Kong and spoke at the meeting 
without her activity being known to the Warden." He looked at Wyoh. "Dear 
lady, could you bring yourself to play the nominal role of an old man's 

"I suppose so. How, Professor?" 

"Manuel is probably in the clear. I am not but from my dossier it 
seems unlikely that the Authority's finks will bother to pick me up. You 
they may wish to question or even to hold; you are rated as dangerous . It 
would be wise for you to stay out of sight. This room--I'm thinking of 
renting it for a period--weeks or even years. You could hide in it— df 
you do not mind the obvious construction that would be placed on your 
staying here . " 

Wyoh chuckled. "Why, you darling! Do you think I care what anyone 
thinks? I'd be delighted to play the role of your bundle baby--and don't 
be too sure I'd be just playing." 

"Never tease an old dog," he said mildly. "He might still have one 
bite. I may occupy that couch most nights. Manuel, I intend to resume my 
usual ways--and so should you. While I feel that it will take a busy 
cossack to arrest me, I will sleep sounder in this hideaway. But in 

addition to being a hideout this room is good for cell meetings; it has a 
phone . " 

Mike said, "Professor, may I offer a suggestion?" 

"Certainly, amigo, we want your thoughts." 

"I conclude that the hazards increase with each meeting of our 
executive cell. But meetings need not be corporal; you can meet--and I 
can join you if I am welcome--by phone." 

"You are always welcome. Comrade Mike; we need you. However--" Prof 
looked worried. 

I said, "Prof, don't worry about anybody listening in." I explained 
how to place a "Sherlock" call. "Phones are safe if Mike supervises call. 
Reminds me--You haven't been told how to reach Mike. How, Mike? Prof use 
my number?" 

Between them, they settled on MYSTERIOUS. Prof and Mike shared 
childlike joy in intrigue for own sake. I suspect Prof enjoyed being 
rebel long before he worked out his political philosophy, while Mike--how 
could human freedom matter to him? Revolution was a game--a game that 
gave him companionship and chance to show off talents. Mike was as 
conceited a machine as you are ever likely to meet. 

"But we still need this room, " Prof said, reached into pouch, 
hauled out thick wad of bills . 

I blinked. "Prof, robbed a bank?" 

"Not recently. Perhaps again in the future of the Cause requires 
it. A rental period of one lunar should do as a starter. Will you arrange 
it, Manuel? The management might be surprised to hear my voice; I came in 
through a delivery door." 

I called manager, bargained for dated key, four weeks. He asked 
nine hundred Hong Kong. I offered nine hundred Authority. He wanted to 
know how many would use room? I asked if was policy of Raffles to snoop 
affairs of guests? 

We settled at HK$475; I sent up bills, he sent down two dated keys. 
I gave one to Wyoh, one to Prof, kept one-day key, knowing they would not 
reset lock unless we failed to pay at end of lunar. 

(Earthside I ran into insolent practice of requiring hotel guest to 
sign chop--even show identification!) 

I asked, "What next? Food?" 

"I'm not hungry, Mannie." 

"Manuel, you asked us to wait while Mike settled your questions. 
Let's get back to the basic problem: how we are to cope when we find 
ourselves facing Terra, David facing Goliath." 

"Oh. Been hoping that would go away. Mike? You really have ideas?" 

"I said I did, Man," he answered plaintively. "We can throw rocks." 

"Bog's sake! No time for jokes." 

"But, Man," he protested, "we can throw rocks at Terra. We will." 

Took time to get through my skull that Mike was serious, and scheme might 
work. Then took longer to show Wyoh and Prof how second part was true. 

Yet both parts should have been obvious . 

Mike reasoned so: What is "war"? One book defined war as use of 
force to achieve political result. And "force" is action of one body on 
another applied by means of energy. 

In war this is done by "weapons " --Luna had none. But weapons, when 
Mike examined them as class, turned out to be engines for manipulating 
energy--and energy Luna has plenty. Solar flux alone is good for around 
one kilowatt per square meter of surface at Lunar noon; sunpower, though 
cyclic, is effectively unlimited. Hydrogen fusion power is almost as 
unlimited and cheaper, once ice is mined, magnetic pinchbottle set up. 
Luna has energy--how to use? 

But Luna also has energy of position; she sits at top of gravity 
well eleven kilometers per second deep and kept from falling in by curb 
only two and a half km/s high. Mike knew that curb; daily he tossed grain 
freighters over it, let them slide downhill to Terra. 

Mike had computed what would happen if a freighter grossing 100 
tonnes (or same mass of rock) falls to Terra, unbraked. 

Kinetic energy as it hits is 6 .25 x 10*12 joules--over six 
trillion joules. 

This converts in split second to heat. Explosion, big one! 

Should have been obvious. Look at Luna: What you see? Thousands on 
thousands of craters--places where Somebody got playful throwing rocks. 

Wyoh said, "Joules don't mean much to me. How does that compare 
with H-bombs?" 

"Uh--" I started to round off in head. Mike's "head" works faster; 
he answered, "The concussion of a hundred-tonne mass on Terra approaches 
the yield of a two-kilotonne atomic bomb." 

"'Kilo' is a thousand," Wyoh murmured, "and 'mega' is a million-- 
Why, that's only one fifty-thousandth as much as a hundred-megatonne 
bomb. Wasn't that the size Sovunion used?" 

"Wyoh, honey," I said gently, "that's not how it works. Turn it 
around. A two-kilotonne yield is equivalent to exploding two million 
kilograms of trinitrotoluol. . . and a kilo of TNT is quite an explosion-- 
Ask any drillman. Two million kilos will wipe out good-sized town. Check, 
Mike ? " 

"Yes, Man. But, Wyoh my only female friend, there is another 
aspect. Multi-megatonne fusion bombs are inefficient. The explosion takes 
place in too small a space; most of it is wasted. While a hundred- 
megatonne bomb is rated as having fifty thousand times the yield of a 
two-kilotonne bomb, its destructive effect is only about thirteen hundred 
times as great as that of a two-kilotonne explosion." 

"But it seems to me that thirteen hundred times is still quite a 
lot--if they are going to use bombs on us that much bigger." 

"True, Wyoh my female friend... but Luna has many rocks." 

"Oh. Yes, so we have." 

"Comrades," said Prof, "this is outside my competence — in my 
younger or bomb-throwing days my experience was limited to something of 
the order of the one-kilogram chemical explosion of which you spoke, 
Manuel. But I assume that you two know what you are talking about." 

"We do, " Mike agreed. 

"So I accept your figures. To bring it down to a scale that I can 
understand this plan requires that we capture the catapult. No?" 

"Yes, " Mike and I chorused. 

"Not impossible. Then we must hold it and keep it operative. Mike, 
have you considered how your catapult can be protected against, let us 
say, one small H-tipped torpedo?" 

Discussion went on and on. We stopped to eat--stopped business 
under Prof's rule. Instead Mike told jokes, each produced a that-reminds- 
me from Prof. 

By time we left Raffles Hotel evening of 14th May '75 we had--Mike 
had, with help from Prof --outlined plan of Revolution, including major 
options at critical points. 

When came time to go, me to home and Prof to evening class (if not 
arrested) , then home for bath and clothes and necessities in case he 
returned that night, became clear Wyoh did not want to be alone in 
strange hotel--Wyoh was stout when bets were down, between times soft and 
vulnerable . 

So I called Mum on a Sherlock and told her was bringing house guest 
home. Mum ran her job with style; any spouse could bring guest home for 
meal or year, and our second generation was almost as free but must ask. 
Don't know how other families work; we have customs firmed by a century; 
they suit us . 

So Mum didn't ask name, age, sex, marital condition; was my right 
and she too proud to ask. All she said was: "That's nice, dear. Have you 
two had dinner? It's Tuesday, you know." 

"Tuesday" was to remind me that our family had eaten early because 
Greg preaches Tuesday evenings. But if guest had not eaten, dinner would 
be served--concession to guest, not to me, as with exception of Grandpaw 
we ate when was on table or scrounged standing up in pantry. 

I assured her we had eaten and would make tall effort to be there 
before she needed to leave. Despite Loonie mixture of Muslims, Jews, 
Christians, Buddhists, and ninety-nine other flavors, I suppose Sunday is 
commonest day for church. But Greg belongs to sect which had calculated 
that sundown Tuesday to sundown Wednesday, local time Garden of Eden 
(zone minus-two, Terra) was the Sabbath. So we ate early in Terran north- 
hemisphere summer months . 

Mum always went to hear Greg preach, so was not considerate to 
place duty on her that would clash. All of us went occasionally; I 
managed several times a year because terribly fond of Greg, who taught me 
one trade and helped me switch to another when I had to and would gladly 
have made it his arm rather than mine. But Mum always went--ritual not 
religion, for she admitted to me one night in pillow talk that she had no 
religion with a brand on it, then cautioned me not to tell Greg. I 
exacted same caution from her. I don't know Who is cranking; I'm pleased 
He doesn't stop. 

But Greg was Mum's "boy husband," opted when she was very young, 
first wedding after her own--very sentimental about him, would deny 
fiercely if accused of loving him more than other husbands, yet took his 
faith when he was ordained and never missed a Tuesday. 

She said, "Is it possible that your guest would wish to attend 
church? " 

I said would see but anyhow we would rush, and said goodbye. Then 
banged on bathroom door and said, "Hurry with skin, Wyoh; we're short on 
minutes . " 

"One minute!" she called out. She's ungirlish girl; she appeared in 
one minute. "How do I look?" she asked. "Prof, will I pass?" 

"Dear Wyoming, I am amazed. You were beautiful before, you are 
beautiful now--but utterly unrecognizable. You're safe--and I am 
relieved. " 

Then we waited for Prof to transform into old derelict; he would be 
it to his back corridor, then reappear as well-known teacher in front of 
class, to have witnesses in case a yellow boy was waiting to grab him. 

It left a moment; I told Wyoh about Greg. She said, "Mannie, how 
good is this makeup? Would it pass in church? How bright are the lights?" 

"No brighter than here. Good job, you'll get by. But do you want to 
go to church? Nobody pushing." 

She thought. "It would please your moth--I mean, 'your senior 
wife, ' would it not?" 

I answered slowly, "Wyoh, religion is your pidgin. But since you 
ask... yes, nothing would start you better in Davis Family than going to 
church with Mum. I'll go if you do." 

"I'll go. I thought your last name was 'O'Kelly'?" 

"Is. Tack 'Davis' on with hyphen if want to be formal. Davis is 
First Husband, dead fifty years. Is family name and all our wives are 
' Gospazha Davis' hyphened with every male name in Davis line plus her 
family name. In practice Mum is only 'Gospazha Davis '--can call her that- 
-and others use first name and add Davis if they write a cheque or 
something. Except that Ludmilla is ' Davis-Davis ' because proud of double 
membership, birth and option." 

"I see. Then if a man is 'John Davis, ' he's a son, but if he has 
some other last name he's your co-husband. But a girl would be 'Jenny 
Davis' either way, wouldn't she? How do I tell? By her age? No, that 
wouldn't help. I'm confused! And I thought clan marriages were complex. 

Or polyandries--though mine wasn't; at least my husbands had the same 
last name . " 

"No trouble. When you hear a woman about forty address a fifteen- 
year-old as 'Mama Milla, " you'll know which is wife and which is 
daughter--not even that complex as we don't have daughters home past 
husband-high; they get opted. But might be visiting. Your husbands were 
named 'Knott'?" 

"Oh, no, ' Fedoseev, Choy Lin and Choy Mu. ' I took back my born 

name . " 

Out came Prof, cackled senilely (looked even worse than earlier!), 
we left by three exits, made rendezvous in main corridor, open formation. 
Wyoh and I did not walk together, as I might be nabbed; on other hand she 
did not know Luna City, a warren so complex even nativeborn get lost--so 
I led and she had to keep me in sight. Prof trailed to make sure she 
didn't lose me. 

If I was picked up, Wyoh would find public phone, report to Mike, 
then return to hotel and wait for Prof. But I felt sure that any yellow 
jacket who arrested me would get a caress from number-seven arm. 

No huhu . Up to level five and crosstown by Carver Causeway, up to 
level three and stop at Tube Station West to pick up arms and tool kit-- 
but not p-suit; would not have been in character, I stored it there. One 
yellow uniform at station, showed no interest in me. South by well- 
lighted corridors until necessary to go outward to reach private easement 
lock thirteen to co-op pressure tunnel serving Davis Tunnels and a dozen 
other farms. I suppose Prof dropped off there but I never looked back. 

I delayed locking through our door until Wyoh caught up, then soon 
was saying, "Mum, allow me to present Wyma Beth Johnson." 

So glad you could come 

Mum took her in arms, kissed cheek, said, " 

Wyma dear! Our house is yours!" 

See why I love our old biddy? Could have quick-frosted Wyoh with 
same words--but was real and Wyoh knew. 

Hadn't warned Wyoh about switch in names, thought of it en route. 
Some of our kids were small and while they grew up despising Warden, no 
sense in risking prattle about "Wyoming Knott, who's visiting us"--that 
name was listed in "Special File Zebra." 

So I missed warning her, was new to conspiracy. 

But Wyoh caught cue and never bobbled. 

Greg was in preaching clothes and would have to leave in minutes. 
Mum did not hurry, took Wyoh down line of husbands--Grandpaw, Greg, Hans- 
-then up line of wives--Ludmilla, Lenore, Sidris, Anna--with stately 
grace, then started on our kids. 

I said, "Mum? Excuse me, want to change arms." Her eyebrows went up 
a millimeter, meaning: "We'll speak of this but not in front of 
children" --so I added: "Know it's late, Greg's sneaking look at watch. 

And Wyma and I are going to church. So ' scuse, please." 

She relaxed. "Certainly, dear." As she turned away I saw her arm go 
around Wyoh ' s waist, so I relaxed. 

I changed arms, replacing number seven with social arm. But was 
excuse to duck into phone cupboard and punch "MYCROFTXXX . " 

"Mike, we're home. But about to go to church. Don't think you can 
listen there, so I'll check in later. Heard from Prof?" 

"Not yet, Man. Which church is it? I may have some circuit." 

"Pillar of Fire Repentance Tabernacle--" 

"No reference." 

"Slow to my speed, pal. Meets in West-Three Community Hall. That's 
south of Station on Ring about number-- . " 

"I have it. There's a pickup inside for channels and a phone in the 
corridor outside; I'll keep an ear on both." 

"I don't expect trouble, Mike." 

"It's what Professor said to do. He is reporting now. Do you wish 
to speak to him?" 

"No time . ' Bye ! " 

That set pattern: Always keep touch with Mike, let him know where 
you are, where you plan to be; Mike would listen if he had nerve ends 
there. Discovery I made that morning, that Mike could listen at dead 
phone, suggested it--discovery bothered me; don't believe in magic. But 
on thinking I realized a phone could be switched on by central switching 
system without human intervention--if switching system had volition. Mike 
had bolshoyeh volition. 

How Mike knew a phone was outside that hall is hard to say, since 
"space" could not mean to him what means to us. But he carried in storage 
a "map"--structured relations--of Luna City's engineering, and could 
almost always fit what we said to what he knew as "Luna City"; hardly 
ever got lost . 

So from day cabal started we kept touch with Mike and each other 
through his widespread nervous system. Won't mention again unless 
necessary . 

Mum and Greg and Wyoh were waiting at outer door, Mum chomping but 
smiling. I saw she had lent Wyoh a stole; Mum was as easy about skin as 
any Loonie, nothing newchummish--but church was another matter. 

We made it, although Greg went straight to platform and we to 
seats. I settled in warm, mindless state, going through motions. But Wyoh 
did really listen to Greg's sermon and either knew our hymn book or was 
accomplished sight reader. 

When we got home, young ones were in bed and most adults; Hans and 
Sidris were up and Sidris served cocoasoy and cookies, then all turned 
in. Mum assigned Wyoh a room in tunnel most of our kids lived in, one 
which had had two smaller boys last time I noticed. Did not ask how she 
had reshuffled, was clear she was giving my guest best we had, or would 
have put Wyoh with one of older girls . 

I slept with Mum that night, partly because our senior wife is good 
for nerves--and nerve-racking things had happened--and partly so she 
would know I was not sneaking to Wyoh ' s room after things were quiet. My 
workshop, where I slept when slept alone; was just one bend from Wyoh's 
door. Mum was telling me, plain as print: "Go ahead, dear. Don't tell me 
if you wish to be mean about it. Sneak behind my back." 

Which neither of us admitted. We visited as we got ready for bed, 
chatted after light out, then I turned over. 

Instead of saying goodnight Mum said, "Manuel? Why does your sweet 
little guest make herself up as an Afro? I would think that her natural 
coloration would be more becoming. Not that she isn't perfectly charming 
the way she chooses to be." 

So rolled over and faced her, and explained--sounded thin, so 
filled in. And found self telling all--except one point: Mike. I included 
Mike--but not as computer--instead as a man Mum was not likely to meet, 
for security reasons. 

But telling Mum--taking her into my subcell, should say, to become 
leader of own cell in turn--taking Mum into conspiracy was not case of 
husband who can't keep from blurting everything to his wife. At most was 
hasty--but was best time if she was to be told. 

Mum was smart. Also able executive; running big family without 
baring teeth requires that. Was respected among farm families and 
throughout Luna City; she had been up longer than 90 percent. She could 
help . 

And would be indispensable inside family. Without her help Wyoh and 
I would find it sticky to use phone together (hard to explain) , keep kids 
from noticing (impossible !) --but with Mum's help would be no problems 
inside household. 

She listened, sighed, said, "It sounds dangerous, dear." 

"Is," I said. "Look, Mimi, if you don't want to tackle, say so then 
forget what I've told." 

"Manuel! Don't even say that. You are my husband, dear; I took you 
for better, for worse... and your wish is my command." 

(My word, what a lie! But Mimi believed it.) 

"I would not let you go into danger alone," she went on, "and 

"What, Mimi?" 

"I think every Loonie dreams of the day when we will be free. All 
but some poor spineless rats. I've never talked about it; there seemed to 
be no point and it's necessary to look up, not down, lift one's burden 
and go ahead. But I thank dear Bog that I have been permitted to live to 
see the time come, if indeed it has. Explain more about it. I am to find 
three others, is it? Three who can be trusted." 

"Don't hurry. Move slowly. Be sure." 

"Sidris can be trusted. She holds her tongue, that one." 

"Don't think you should pick from family. Need to spread out. Don't 

rush . " 

"I shan't. We'll talk before I do anything. And Manuel, if you want 
my opinion--" She stopped. 

"Always want your opinion, Mimi . " 

"Don't mention this to Grandpaw. He's forgetful these days and 
sometimes talkative. Now sleep, dear, and don't dream." 


Followed a long time during which would have been possible to forget 
anything as unlikely as revolution had not details taken so much time. 

Our first purpose was not to be noticed. Long distance purpose was to 
make things as much worse as possible. 

Yes, worse. Never was a time, even at last, when all Loonies wanted 
to throw off Authority, wanted it bad enough to revolt. All Loonies 
despised Warden and cheated Authority. Didn't mean they were ready to 
fight and die. If you had mentioned "patriotism" to a Loonie, he would 
have stared--or thought you were talking about his homeland. Were 
transported Frenchmen whose hearts belonged to "La Belle Patrie," ex- 
Germans loyal to Vaterland, Russkis who still loved Holy Mother Russia. 
But Luna? Luna was "The Rock," place of exile, not thing to love. 

We were as non-political a people as history ever produced. I know, 

I was as numb to politics as any until circumstances pitched me into it. 
Wyoming was in it because she hated Authority for a personal reason. Prof 
because he despised all authority in a detached intellectual fashion, 

Mike because he was a bored and lonely machine and was for him "only game 
in town." You could not have accused us of patriotism. I came closest 
because I was third generation with total lack of affection for any place 
on Terra, had been there, disliked it and despised earthworms. Made me 
more "patriotic" than most! 

Average Loonie was interested in beer, betting, women, and work, in 
that order. "Women" might be second place but first was unlikely, much as 
women were cherished. Loonies had learned there never were enough women 
to go around. Slow learners died, as even most possessive male can't stay 
alert every minute. As Prof says, a society adapts to fact, or doesn't 
survive. Loonies adapted to harsh facts — or failed and died. But 
"patriotism" was not necessary to survival. 

Like old Chinee saying that "Fish aren't aware of water," I was not 
aware of any of this until I first went to Terra and even then did not 
realize what a blank spot was in Loonies under storage location marked 
"patriotism" until I took part in effort to stir them up. Wyoh and her 
comrades had tried to push "patriotism" button and got nowhere--years of 
work, a few thousand members, less than 1 percent and of that microscopic 
number almost 10 percent had been paid spies of boss fink! 

Prof set us straight: Easier to get people to hate than to get them 
to love. 

Luckily, Security Chief Alvarez gave us a hand. Those nine dead 
finks were replaced with ninety, for Authority was goaded into something 
it did reluctantly, namely spend money on us, and one folly led to 
another . 

Warden's bodyguard had never been large even in earliest days 
Prison guards in historical meaning were unnecessary and that had been 
one attraction of penal colony system--cheap . Warden and his deputy had 
to be protected and visiting vips, but prison itself needed no guards. 
They even stopped guarding ships after became clear was not necessary, 
and in May 2075, bodyguard was down to its cheapest numbers, all of them 
new chum transportees . 

But loss of nine in one night scared somebody. We knew it scared 
Alvarez; he filed copies of his demands for help in Zebra file and Mike 
read them. A lag who had been a police officer on Terra before his 
conviction and then a bodyguard all his years in Luna, Alvarez was 
probably most frightened and loneliest man in The Rock. He demanded more 
and tougher help, threatened to resign civil service job if he didn't get 
it--just a threat, which Authority would have known if it had really 
known Luna. If Alvarez had showed up in any warren as unarmed civilian, 
he would have stayed breathing only as long as not recognized. 

He got his additional guards. We never found out who ordered that 
raid. Mort the Wart had never shown such tendencies, had been King Log 
throughout tenure. Perhaps Alvarez, having only recently succeeded to 
boss fink spot, wanted to make face--may have had ambition to be Warden. 
But likeliest theory is that Warden's reports on "subversive activities" 
caused Authority Earthside to order a cleanup. 

One thumb-fingered mistake led to another. New bodyguards, instead 
of picked from new transportees, were elite convict troops. Federated 
Nations crack Peace Dragoons. Were mean and tough, did not want to go to 
Luna, and soon realized that "temporary police duty" was one-way trip. 
Hated Luna and Loonies, and saw us as cause of it all. 

Once Alvarez got them, he posted a twenty-four-hour watch at every 
interwarren tube station and instituted passports and passport control. 
Would have been illegal had there been laws in Luna, since 95 percent of 
us were theoretically free, either born free, or sentence completed. 
Percentage was higher in cities as undischarged transportees lived in 
barrack warrens at Complex and came into town only two days per lunar 
they had off work. If then, as they had no money, but you sometimes saw 
them wandering around, hoping somebody would buy a drink. 

But passport system was not "illegal" as Warden's regulations were 
only written law. Was announced in papers, we were given week to get 
passports, and at eight hundred one morning was put in effect. Some 
Loonies hardly ever traveled; some traveled on business; some commuted 
from outlying warrens or even from Luna City to Novylen or other way. 

Good little boys filled out applications, paid fees, were photographed, 
got passes; I was good little boy on Prof's advice, paid for passport and 
added it to pass I carried to work in Complex. 

Few good little boys! Loonies did not believe it. Passports? 

Whoever heard of such a thing? 

Was a trooper at Tube Station South that morning dressed in 
bodyguard yellow rather than regimentals and looking like he hated it, 
and us. I was not going anywhere; I hung back and watched. 

Novylen capsule was announced; crowd of thirty-odd headed for gate. 
Gospodin Yellow Jacket demanded passport of first to reach it. Loonie 

stopped to argue. Second one pushed past; guard turned and yelled--three 
or four more shoved past. Guard reached for sidearm; somebody grabbed his 
elbow, gun went off--not a laser, a slug gun, noisy. 

Slug hit decking and went whee-whee-hoo off somewhere. I faded 
back. One man hurt--that guard. When first press of passengers had gone 
down ramp, he was on deck, not moving. 

Nobody paid attention; they walked around or stepped over--except 
one woman carrying a baby, who stopped, kicked him carefully in face, 
then went down ramp. He may have been dead already, didn't wait to see. 
Understand body stayed there till relief arrived. 

Next day was a half squad in that spot. Capsule for Novylen left 

empty . 

It settled down. Those who had to travel got passports, diehards 
quit traveling. Guard at a tube gate became two men, one looked at 
passports while other stood back with gun drawn. One who checked 
passports did not try hard, which was well as most were counterfeit and 
early ones were crude. But before long, authentic paper was stolen and 
counterfeits were as dinkum as official ones— more expensive but Loonies 
preferred free-enterprise passports. 

Our organization did not make counterfeits; we merely encouraged 
it — and knew who had them and who did not; Mike's records listed 
officially issued ones. This helped separate sheep from goats in files we 
were building—also stored in Mike but in "Bastille" location—as we 
figured a man with counterfeit passport was halfway to joining us. Word 
was passed down cells in our growing organization never to recruit 
anybody with a valid passport. If recruiter was not certain, just query 
upwards and answer came back. 

But guards' troubles were not over. Does not help a guard's dignity 
nor add to peace of mind to have children stand in front of him, or 
behind out of eye which was worse, and ape every move he makes—or run 
back and forth screaming obscenities, jeering, making finger motions that 
are universal. At least guards took them as insults. 

One guard back-handed a small boy, cost him some teeth. Result: two 
guards dead, one Loonie dead. 

After that, guards ignored children. 

We didn't have to work this up; we merely encouraged it. You 
wouldn't think that a sweet old lady like my senior wife would encourage 
children to misbehave. But she did. 

Other things get single men a long way from home upset—and one we 
did start. These Peace Dragoons had been sent to The Rock without a 
comfort detachment. 

Some of our ferns were extremely beautiful and some started 
loitering around stations, dressed in less than usual—which could 
approach zero—and wearing more than usual amount of perfume, scents with 
range and striking power. They did not speak to yellow jackets nor look 
at them; they simply crossed their line of sight, undulating as only a 
Loonie gal can. (A female on Terra can't walk that way; she's tied down 
by six times too much weight.) 

Such of course produces a male gallery, from men down to lads not 
yet pubescent-happy whistles and cheers for her beauty, nasty laughs at 
yellow boy. First girls to take this duty were slot-machine types but 
volunteers sprang up so fast that Prof decided we need not spend money. 

He was correct: even Ludmilla, shy as a kitten, wanted to try it and did 
not only because Mum told her not to. But Lenore, ten years older and 

prettiest of our family, did try it and Mum did not scold. She came back 
pink and excited and pleased with herself and anxious to tease enemy 
again. Her own idea; Lenore did not then know that revolution was 
brewing . 

During this time I rarely saw Prof and never in public; we kept 
touch by phone. At first a bottleneck was that our farm had just one 
phone for twenty-five people, many of them youngsters who would tie up a 
phone for hours unless coerced. Mimi was strict; our kids were allowed 
one out-going call per day and max of ninety seconds on a call, with 
rising scale of punishment--tempered by her warmth in granting 
exceptions. But grants were accompanied by "Mum's Phone Lecture": "When I 
first came to Luna there were no private phones. You children don't know 
how sof t . . . " 

We were one of last prosperous families to install a phone; it was 
new in household when I was opted. We were prosperous because we never 
bought anything farm could produce. Mum disliked phone because rates to 
Luna City Co-op Comm Company were passed on in large measure to 
Authority. She never could understand why I could not ("Since you know 
all about such things, Manuel dear") steal phone service as easily as we 
liberated power. That a phone instrument was part of a switching system 
into which it must fit was no interest to her. 

Steal it I did, eventually. Problem with illicit phone is how to 
receive incoming calls. Since phone is not listed, even if you tell 
persons from whom you want calls, switching system itself does not have 
you listed; is no signal that can tell it to connect other party with 
you . 

Once Mike joined conspiracy, switching was no problem. I had in 
workshop most of what I needed; bought some items and liberated others. 
Drilled a tiny hole from workshop to phone cupboard and another to Wyoh ' s 
room--virgin rock a meter thick but a laser drill collimated to a thin 
pencil cuts rapidly. I unshipped listed phone, made a wireless coupling 
to line in its recess and concealed it. All else needed were binaural 
receptors and a speaker in Wyoh's room, concealed, and same in mine, and 
a circuit to raise frequency above audio to have silence on Davis phone 
line, and its converse to restore audio incoming. 

Only problem was to do this without being seen, and Mum generated 

that . 

All else was Mike's problem. Used no switching arrangements; from 
then on used MYCROFTXXX only when calling from some other phone. Mike 
listened at all times in workshop and in Wyoh's room; if he heard my 
voice or hers say "Mike," he answered, but not to other voices. Voice 
patterns were as distinctive to him as fingerprints; he never made 
mistakes . 

Minor f lourishes--soundproof lng Wyoh's door such as workshop door 
already had, switching to suppress my instrument or hers, signals to tell 
me she was alone in her room and door locked, and vice versa. All added 
up to safe means whereby Wyob and I could talk with Mike or with each 
other, or could set up talk-talk of Mike, Wyoh, Prof, and self. Mike 
would call Prof wherever he was; Prof would talk or call back from a more 
private phone. Or might be Wyoh or myself had to be found. We all were 
careful to stay checked in with Mike. 

My bootleg phone, though it had no way to punch a call, could be 
used to call any number in Luna--speak to Mike, ask for a Sherlock to 

anybody--not tell him number, Mike had all listings and could look up a 
number faster than I could. 

We were beginning to see unlimited possibilities in a 
phoneswitching system alive and on our side. I got from Mike and gave Mum 
still another null number to call Mike if she needed to reach me. She 
grew chummy with Mike while continuing to think he was a man. This spread 
through our family. One day as I returned home Sidris said, "Mannie 
darling, your friend with the nice voice called. Mike Holmes. Wants you 
to call back . " 

"Thanks, hon. Will." 

"When are you going to invite him to dinner, Man? I think he's 

nice . " 

I told her Gospodin Holmes had bad breath, was covered with rank 
hair, and hated women. 

She used a rude word, Mum not being in earshot. "You're afraid to 
let me see him. Afraid I'll opt out for him." I patted her and told her 
that was why. I told Mike and Prof about it. Mike flirted even more with 
my womenfolk after that; Prof was thoughtful. 

I began to learn techniques of conspiracy and to appreciate Prof's 
feeling that revolution could be an art. Did not forget (nor ever doubt) 
Mike's prediction that Luna was only seven years from disaster. But did 
not think about it, thought about fascinating, finicky details. 

Prof had emphasized that stickiest problems in conspiracy are 
communications and security, and had pointed out that they conflict-- 
easier are communications, greater is risk to security; if security is 
tight, organization can be paralyzed by safety precautions. He had 
explained that cell system was a compromise. 

I accepted cell system since was necessary to limit losses from 
spies. Even Wyoh admitted that organization without compartmentation 
could not work after she learned how rotten with spies old underground 
had been. 

But I did not like clogged communications of cell system; like 
Terran dinosaurs of old, took too long to send message from head to tail, 
or back. 

So talked with Mike. 

We discarded many-linked channels I had suggested to Prof. We 
retained cells but based security and communication on marvelous 
possibilities of our dinkum thinkum. 

Communications: We set up a ternary tree of "party" names: 

Chairman, Gospodin Adam Selene (Mike) 

Executive cell: Bork (me), Betty (Wyoh), Bill (Prof) 

Bork's cell: Cassie (Mum), Colin, Chang 

Betty's cell: Calvin (Greg), Cecilia (Sidris), Clayton 

Bill's cell: Cornwall (Finn Nielsen), Carolyn, Cotter 

--and so on. At seventh link George supervises Herbert, Henry, and 
Hallie. By time you reach that level you need 2, 187 names with "H"--but 
turn it over to savvy computer who finds or invents them. Each recruit is 
given a party name and an emergency phone number. This number, instead of 
chasing through many links, connects with "Adam Selene," Mike. 

Security: Based on double principle; no human being can be trusted 
with anything--but Mike could be trusted with everything. 

Grim first half is beyond dispute. With drugs and other unsavory 
methods any man can be broken. Only defense is suicide, which may be 

impossible. Oh, are "hollow tooth" methods, classic and novel, some 
nearly infallible--Prof saw to it that Wyoh and myself were equipped. 
Never knew what he gave her as a final friend and since I never had to 
use mine, is no point in messy details. Nor am I sure I would ever 
suicide; am not stuff of martyrs. 

But Mike could never need to suicide, could not be drugged, did not 
feel pain. He carried everything concerning us in a separate memory bank 
under a locked signal programmed only to our three voices, and, since 
flesh is weak, we added a signal under which any of us could lock out 
other two in emergency. In my opinion as best computerman in Luna, Mike 
could not remove this lock once it was set up. Best of all, nobody would 
ask master computer for this file because nobody knew it existed, did not 
suspect Mike-as-Mike existed. How secure can you be? 

Only risk was that this awakened machine was whimsical. Mike was 
always showing unforeseen potentials; conceivable he could figure way to 
get around block--if he wanted to. 

But would never want to. He was loyal to me, first and oldest 
friend; he liked Prof; I think he loved Wyoh. No, no, sex meant nothing. 
But Wyoh is lovable and they hit it off from start. 

I trusted Mike. In this life you have to bet; on that bet I would 
give any odds . 

So we based security on trusting Mike with everything while each of 
us knew only what he had to know. Take that tree of names and numbers. I 
knew only party names of my cellmates and of three directly under me; was 
all I needed. Mike set up party names, assigned phone number to each, 
kept roster of real names versus party names. Let's say party member 
"Daniel" (whom I would not know, being a "D" two levels below me) 
recruits Fritz Schultz. Daniel reports fact but not name upwards; Adam 
Selene calls Daniel, assigns for Schultz party name "Embrook, " then 
phones Schultz at number received from Daniel, gives Schultz his name 
Embrook and emergency phone number, this number being different for each 
recruit . 

Not even Embrook' s cell leader would know Embrook' s emergency 
number. What you do not know you cannot spill, not under drugs nor 
torture, nor anything. Not even from carelessness. 

Now let's suppose I need to reach Comrade Embrook. I don't know who 
he is; he may live in Hong Kong or be shopkeeper nearest my home. Instead 
of passing message down, hoping it will reach him, I call Mike. Mike 
connects me with Embrook at once, in a Sherlock, without giving me his 
number . 

Or suppose I need to speak to comrade who is preparing cartoon we 
are about to distribute in every taproom in Luna. I don't know who he is. 
But I need to talk to him; something has come up. 

I call Mike; Mike knows everything--and again I am quickly 
connected--and this comrade knows it's okay as Adam Selene arranged call. 
"Comrade Bork speaking"--and he doesn't know me but initial "B" tells him 
that I am vip indeed--"we have to change so-and-so. Tell your cell leader 
and have him check, but get on with it." 

Minor f lourishes--some comrades did not have phones; some could be 
reached only at certain hours; some outlying warrens did not have phone 
service. No matter, Mike knew everything--and rest of us did not know 
anything that could endanger any but that handful whom each knew face to 
face . 

After we decided that Mike should talk voice-to-voice to any 
comrade under some circumstances, it was necessary to give him more 
voices and dress him up, make him three dimensions, create "Adam Selene, 
Chairman of the Provisional Committee of Free Luna." 

Mike's need for more voices lay in fact that he had just one voder- 
vocoder, whereas his brain could handle a dozen conversations, or a 
hundred (don't know how many) --like a chess master playing fifty 
opponents, only more so. 

This would cause a bottleneck as organization grew and Adam Selene 
was phoned oftener, and could be crucial if we lasted long enough to go 
into action. 

Besides giving him more voices I wanted to silence one he had. One 
of those so-called computermen might walk into machines room while we 
were phoning Mike; bound to cause even his dim wit to wonder if he found 
master machine apparently talking to itself. 

Voder-vocoder is very old device. Human voice is buzzes and hisses 
mixed various ways; true even of a coloratura soprano. A vocoder analyzes 
buzzes and hisses into patterns, one a computer (or trained eye) can 
read. A voder is a little box which can buzz and hiss and has controls to 
vary these elements to match those patterns. A human can "play" a voder, 
producing artificial speech; a properly programmed computer can do it as 
fast, as easily, as clearly as you can speak. 

But voices on a phone wire are not sound waves but electrical 
signals; Mike did not need audio part of voder-vocoder to talk by phone. 
Sound waves were needed only by human at other end; no need for speech 
sounds inside Mike's room at Authority Complex, so I planned to remove 
them, and thereby any danger that somebody might notice. 

First I worked at home, using number-three arm most of time. Result 
was very small box which sandwiched twenty voder-vocoder circuits minus 
audio side. Then I called Mike and told him to "get ill" in way that 
would annoy Warden. Then I waited. 

We had done this "get ill" trick before. I went back to work once 
we learned that I was clear, which was Thursday that same week when 
Alvarez read into Zebra file an account of shambles at Stilyagi Hall. His 
version listed about one hundred people (out of perhaps three hundred) ; 
list included Shorty Mkrum, Wyoh, Prof, and Finn Nielsen but not me— 
apparently I was missed by his finks. It told how nine police officers, 
each deputized by Warden to preserve peace, had been shot down in cold 
blood. Also named three of our dead. 

An add-on a week later stated that "the notorious agente 
provocateuse Wyoming Knott of Hong Kong in Luna, whose incendiary speech 
on Monday 13 May had incited the riot that cost the lives of nine brave 
officers, had not been apprehended in Luna City and had not returned to 
her usual haunts in Hong Kong in Luna, and was now believed to have died 
in the massacre she herself set off. " This add-on admitted what earlier 
report failed to mention, i. e., bodies were missing and exact number of 
dead was not known. 

This P. S. settled two things: Wyoh could not go home nor back to 
being a blonde. 

Since I had not been spotted I resumed my public ways, took care of 
customers that week, bookkeeping machines and retrieval files at Carnegie 
Library, and spent time having Mike read out Zebra file and other special 
files, doing so in Room L of Raffles as I did not yet have my own phone. 
During that week Mike niggled at me like an impatient child (which he 

was), wanting to know when I was coming over to pick up more jokes. 
Failing that, he wanted to tell them by phone. 

I got annoyed and had to remind myself that from Mike's viewpoint 
analyzing jokes was just as important as freeing Luna--and you don't 
break promises to a child. 

Besides that. I got itchy wondering whether I could go inside 
Complex without being nabbed. We knew Prof was not clear, was sleeping in 
Raffles on that account. Yet they knew he had been at meeting and knew 
where he was, daily--but no attempt was made to pick him up. When we 
learned that attempt had been made to pick up Wyoh, I grew itchier. Was I 
clear? Or were they waiting to nab me quietly? Had to know. 

So I called Mike and told him to have a tummyache . He did so, I was 
called in--no trouble. Aside from showing passport at station, then to a 
new guard at Complex, all was usual. I chatted with Mike, picked up one 
thousand jokes (with understanding that we would report a hundred at a 
time every three or four days, no faster) , told him to get well, and went 
back to L-City, stopping on way out to bill Chief Engineer for working 
time, travel-and-tool time, materials, special service, anything I could 
load in. 

Thereafter saw Mike about once a month. Was safe, never went there 
except when they called me for malfunction beyond ability of their staff- 
-and I was always able to "repair" it, sometimes quickly, sometimes after 
a full day and many tests. Was careful to leave tool marks on cover 
plates, and had before-and-after print-outs of test runs to show what had 
been wrong, how I analyzed it, what I had done. Mike always worked 
perfectly after one of my visits; I was indispensable. 

So, after I prepared his new voder-vocoder add-on, didn't hesitate 
to tell him to get "ill." Call came in thirty minutes. Mike had thought 
up a dandy; his "illness" was wild oscillations in conditioning Warden's 
residence. He was running its heat up, then down, on an eleven-minute 
cycle, while oscillating its air pressure on a short cycle, ca .2c/s, 
enough to make a man dreadfully nervy and perhaps cause earache. 

Conditioning a single residence should not go through a master 
computer! In Davis Tunnels we handled home and farm with idiot controls, 
feedbacks for each cubic with alarms so that somebody could climb out of 
bed and control by hand until trouble could be found. If cows got chilly, 
did not hurt corn; if lights failed over wheat, vegetables were okay. 

That Mike could raise hell with Warden's residence and nobody could 
figure out what to do shows silliness of piling everything into one 
computer . 

Mike was happy-joyed. This was humor he really scanned. I enjoyed 
it, too, told him to go ahead, have fun--spread out tools, got out little 
black box. 

And computerman-of-the-watch comes banging and ringing at door. I 
took my time answering and carried number-five arm in right hand with 
short wing bare; this makes some people sick and upsets almost everybody. 
"What in hell do you want, choom?" I inquired. 

"Listen," he says, "Warden is raising hell! Haven't you found 

"My compliments to Warden and tell him I will override by hand to 
restore his precious comfort as soon as I locate faulty circuit--if not 
slowed up by silly questions. Are you going to stand with door open 
blowing dust into machines while I have cover plates off? If you do-- 
since you're in charge--when dust puts machine on sputter, you can repair 

it. I won't leave a warm bed to help. You can tell that to your bloody 
Warden, too . " 

"Watch your language, cobber." 

"Watch yours, convict. Are you going to close that door? Or shall I 
walk out and go back to L-City?" And raised number-five like a club. 

He closed door. Had no interest in insulting poor sod. Was one 
small bit of policy to make everybody as unhappy as possible. He was 
finding working for Warden difficult; I wanted to make it unbearable. 

"Shall I step it up?" Mike inquired. 

"Um, hold it so for ten minutes, then stop abruptly. Then jog it 
for an hour, say with air pressure. Erratic but hard. Know what a sonic 
boom is?" 

"Certainly. It is a--" 

"Don't define. After you drop major effect, rattle his air ducts 
every few minutes with nearest to a boom system will produce. Then give 
him something to remember. Mmm. . . Mike, can you make his W. C. run 

backwards ? " 

"I surely can! All of them?" 

"How many does he have?" 

"Six. " 

"Well. . . program to give them all a push, enough to soak his rugs. 
But if you can spot one nearest his bedroom, fountain it clear to 
ceiling. Can?" 

"Program set up!" 

"Good. Now for your present, ducky." There was room in voder audio 
box to hide it and I spent forty minutes with number-three, getting it 
just so. We trial-checked through voder-vocoder, then I told him to call 
Wyoh and check each circuit. 

For ten minutes was silence, which I spent putting tool markers on 
a cover plate which should have been removed had been anything wrong, 
putting tools away, putting number-six arm on, rolling up one thousand 
jokes waiting in print-out. I had found no need to cut out audio of 
voder; Mike had thought of it before I had and always chopped off any 
time door was touched. Since his reflexes were better than mine by a 
factor of at least a thousand, I forgot it. 

At last he said, "All twenty circuits okay. I can switch circuits 
in the middle of a word and Wyoh can't detect discontinuity. And I called 
Prof and said Hello and talked to Mum on your home phone, all three at 
the same time." 

"We're in business. What excuse you give Mum?" 

"I asked her to have you call me, Adam Selene that is. Then we 
chatted. She's a charming conversationalist. We discussed Greg's sermon 
of last Tuesday." 

"Huh? How?" 

"I told her I had listened to it, Man, and quoted a poetic part." 

"Oh, Mike ! " 

"It's okay, Man. I let her think that I sat in back, then slipped 
out during the closing hymn. She's not nosy; she knows that I don't want 
to be seen . " 

Mum is nosiest female in Luna. "Guess it's okay. But don't do it 
again. Um--Do do it again. You go to--you monitor--meetings and lectures 
and concerts and stuff." 

"Unless some busybody switches me off by hand! Man, I can't control 
those spot pickups the way I do a phone." 

"Too simple a switch. Brute muscle rather than solid-state 
f lipf lop . " 

"That's barbaric. And unfair." 

"Mike, almost everything is unfair. What can't be cured--" 

"--must be endured. That's a funny-once, Man." 

"Sorry. Let's change it: What can't be cured should be tossed out 
and something better put in. Which we'll do. What chances last time you 

"Approximately one in nine, Man." 

"Getting worse?" 

"Man, they'll get worse for months. We haven't reached the crisis." 

"With Yankees in cellar, too. Oh, well. Back to other matter. From 
now on, when you talk to anyone, if he's been to a lecture or whatever, 
you were there, too--and prove it, by recalling something." 

"Noted. Why, Man?" 

"Have you read 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'? May be in public library." 

"Yes. Shall I read it back?" 

"No, no! You're our Scarlet Pinipernel, our John Galt, our Swamp 
Fox, our man of mystery. You go everywhere, know everything, slip in and 
out of town without passport. You're always there, yet nobody catches 
sight of you." 

His lights rippled, he gave a subdued chuckle. "That's fun, Man. 
Funny once, funny twice, maybe funny always." 

"Funny always. How long ago did you stop gymkhana at Warden's?" 

"Forty-three minutes ago except erratic booms." 

"Bet his teeth ache! Give him fifteen minutes more. Then I'll 
report job completed." 

"Noted. Wyoh sent you a message, Man. She said to remind you of 
Billy's birthday party." 

"Oh, my word! Stop everything, I'm leaving. 'Bye!" I hurried out. 
Billy's mother is Anna. Probably her last--and right well she's done by 
us, eight kids, three still home. I try to be as careful as Mum never to 
show favoritism. . . but Billy is quite a boy and I taught him to read. 
Possible he looks like me. 

Stopped at Chief Engineer's office to leave bill and demanded to 
see him. Was let in and he was in belligerent mood; Warden had been 
riding him. "Hold it," I told him. "My son's birthday and shan't be late. 
But must show you something." 

Took an envelope from kit, dumped item on desk: corpse of house fly 
which I had charred with a hot wire and fetched. We do not tolerate flies 
in Davis Tunnels but sometimes one wanders in from city as locks are 
opened. This wound up in my workshop just when I needed it. "See that? 
Guess where I found it." 

On that faked evidence I built a lecture on care of fine machines, 
talked about doors opened, complained about man on watch. "Dust can ruin 
a computer. Insects are unpardonable! Yet your watchstanders wander in 
and out as if tube station. Today both doors held open--while this idiot 
yammered. If I find more evidence that cover plates have been removed by 
hoof-handed choom who attracts flies--well, it's your plant, Chief. Got 
more than I can handle, been doing your chores because I like fine 
machines. Can't stand to see them abused! Good-bye." 

"Hold on. I want to tell you something." 

"Sorry, got to go. Take it or leave it, I'm no vermin exterminator; 
I'm a compute rman . " 

Nothing frustrates a man so much as not letting him get in his say. 
With luck and help from Warden, Chief Engineer would have ulcers by 
Christmas . 

Was late anyhow and made humble apology to Billy. Alvarez had 
thought up new wrinkle, close search on leaving Complex. I endured it 
with never a nasty word for Dragoons who searched me; wanted to get home. 
But those thousand jokes bothered them. "What's this?" one demanded. 

"Computer paper," I said. "Test runs." 

His mate joined him. Don't think they could read. They wanted to 
confiscate, so I demanded they call Chief Engineer. They let me go. I 
felt not displeased; more and more such and guards were daily more hated. 

Decision to make Mike more a person arose from need to have any 
Party member phone him on occasion; my advice about concerts and plays 
was simply a side effect. Mike's voice over phone had odd quality I had 
not noticed during time I had visited him only at Complex. When you speak 
to a man by phone there is background noise. And you hear him breathe, 
hear heartbeats, body motions even though rarely conscious of these. 
Besides that, even if he speaks under a hush hood, noises get through, 
enough to "fill space," make him a body with surroundings. 

With Mike was none of this. 

By then Mike's voice was "human" in timbre and quality, 
recognizable. He was baritone, had North American accent with Aussie 
overtones; as "Michelle" he (she?) had a light soprano with French 
flavor. Mike's personality grew also. When first I introduced him to Wyoh 
and Prof he sounded like a pedantic child; in short weeks he flowered 
until I visualized a man about own age. 

His voice when he first woke was blurred and harsh, hardly 
understandable. Now it was clear and choice of words and phrasing was 
consistent--colloquial to me, scholarly to Prof, gallant to Wyoh, 
variation one expects of mature adults. 

But background was dead. Thick silence. 

So we filled it. Mike needed only hints. He did not make his 
breathing noisy, ordinarily you would not notice. But he would stick in 
touches. "Sorry, Mannie, you caught me bathing when the phone sounded"-- 
and let one hear hurried breathing. Or "I was eating--had to swallow." He 
used such even on me, once he undertook to "be a human body." 

We all put "Adam Selene" together, talking it over at Raffles. How 
old was he? What did he look like? Married? Where did he live? What work? 
What interests? 

We decided that Adam was about forty, healthy, vigorous, well 
educated, interested in all arts and sciences and very well grounded in 
history, a match chess player but- little time to play. He was married in 
commonest type, a troika in which he was senior husband--f our children. 
Wife and junior husband not in politics, so far as we knew. 

He was ruggedly handsome with wavy iron-gray hair and was mixed 
race, second generation one side, third on other. Was wealthy by Loonie 
standards, with interests in Novylen and Kongville as well as L-City. He 
kept offices in Luna City, outer office with a dozen people plus private 
office staffed by male deputy and female secretary. 

Wyoh wanted to know was he bundling with secretary? I told her to 
switch off, was private. Wyoh said indignantly that she was not being 
snoopy--weren ' t we trying to create a rounded character? 

We decided that offices were in Old Dome, third ramp, southside, 
heart of financial district. If you know L-City. you recall that in Old 

Dome some offices have windows since they can look out over floor of 
Dome; I wanted this for sound effects. 

We drew a floor plan and had that office existed, it would have 
been between Aetna Luna and Greenberg & Co . I used pouch recorder to pick 
up sounds at spot; Mike added to it by listening at phones there. 

Thereafter when you called Adam Selene, background was not dead. If 
"Ursula," his secretary, took call, it was: "Selene Associates. Luna 
shall be free!" Then she might say, "Will you hold? Gospodin Selene is on 
another call" whereupon you might hear sound of W. C., followed by 

running water and know that she had told little white lie. Or Adam might 

answer: "Adam Selene here. Free Luna. One second while I shut off the 
video." Or deputy might answer: "This is Albert Ginwallah, Adam Selene's 
confidential assistant. Free Luna. If it's a Party matter — as I assume it 
is; that was your Party name you gave--please don't hesitate; I handle 
such things for the Chairman." 

Last was a trap, as every comrade was instructed to speak only to 
Adam Selene. No attempt was made to discipline one who took bait; instead 
his cell captain was warned that his comrade must not be trusted with 
anything vital . 

We got echoes. "Free Luna!" or "Luna shall be free!" took hold 
among youngsters, then among solid citizens. First time I heard it in a 

business call I almost swallowed teeth. Then called Mike and asked if 

this person was Party member? Was not. So I recommended that Mike trace 
down Party tree and see if somebody could recruit him. 

Most interesting echo was in File Zebra. "Adam Selene" appeared in 
boss fink's security file less than a lunar after we created him, with 
notation that this was a cover name for a leader in a new underground. 

Alvarez's spies did a job on Adam Selene. Over course of months his 
File Zebra dossier built up: Male, 34-45, offices south face of Old Dome, 
usually there 0900-1800 Gr. except Saturday but calls are relayed at 
other hours, home inside urban pressure as travel time never exceeds 
seventeen minutes. Children in household. Activities include stock 
brokerage, farming interests. Attends theater, concerts, etc. Probably 
member Luna City Chess Club and Luna Assoc, d'Echecs. Plays ricochet and 
other heavy sports lunch hour, probably Luna City Athletic Club. Gourmet 
but watches weight. Remarkable memory plus mathematical ability. 

Executive type, able to reach decisions quickly. 

One fink was convinced that he had talked to Adam between acts at 
revival of Hamlet by Civic Players; Alvarez noted description--and 
matched our picture all but wavy hair! 

But thing that drove Alvarez crackers was that phone numbers for 
Adam were reported and every time they turned out wrong numbers . (Not 
nulls; we had run out and Mike was using any number not in use and 
switching numbers anytime new subscribers were assigned ones we had been 
using.) Alvarez tried to trace "Selene Associates" using a one-wrong- 
digit assumption--this we learned because Mike was keeping an ear on 
Alvarez's office phone and heard order. Mike used knowledge to play a 
Mikish prank: Subordinate who made one-changed-digit calls invariably 
reached Warden's private residence. So Alvarez was called in and chewed 
by Warden. 

Couldn't scold Mike but did warn him it would alert any smart 
person to fact that somebody was playing tricks with computer. Mike 
answered that they were not that smart. 

Main result of Alvarez's efforts was that each time he got a number 
for Adam we located a spy--a new spy, as those we had spotted earlier 
were never given phone numbers; instead they were recruited into a tail- 
chasing organization where they could inform on each other. But with 
Alvarez's help we spotted each new spy almost at once. I think Alvarez 
became unhappy over spies he was able to hire; two disappeared and our 
organization, then over six thousand, was never able to find them. 
Eliminated, I suppose, or died under questioning. 

Selene Associates was not only phony company we set up. LuNoHoCo 
was much larger, just as phony, and not at all dummy; it had main offices 
in Hong Kong, branches in Novy Leningrad and Luna City, eventually 
employed hundreds of people most of whom were not Party members, and was 
our most difficult operation. 

Mike's master plan listed a weary number of problems which had to 
be solved. One was finance. Another was how to protect catapult from 
space attack. 

Prof considered robbing banks to solve first, gave it up 
reluctantly. But eventually we did rob banks, firms, and Authority 
itself. Mike thought of it. Mike and Prof worked it out. At first was not 
clear to Mike why we needed money. He knew as little about pressure that 
keeps humans scratching as he knew about sex; Mike handled millions of 
dollars and could not see any problem. He started by offering to issue an 
Authority cheque for whatever dollars we wanted. 

Prof shied in horror. He then explained to Mike hazard in trying to 
cash a cheque for, let us say, AS$10, 000, 000 drawn on Authority. 

So they undertook to do it, but retail, in many names and places 
all over Luna. Every bank, firm, shop, agency including Authority, for 
which Mike did accounting, was tapped for Party funds. Was a pyramided 
swindle based on fact, unknown to me but known to Prof and latent in 
Mike's immense knowledge, that most money is simply bookkeeping. 

Example--multiply by hundreds of many types: My family son Sergei, 
eighteen and a Party member, is asked to start account at Commonwealth 
Shared Risk. He makes deposits and withdrawals. Small errors are made 
each time; he is credited with more than he deposits, is debited with 
less than he withdraws. A few months later he takes job out of town and 
transfers account to Tycho-Under Mutual; transferred funds are three 
times already-inflated amount. Most of this he soon draws out in cash and 
passes to his cell leader. Mike knows amount Sergei should hand over, but 
(since they do not know that Adam Selene and bank's computer-bookeeper 
are one and same) they have each been instructed to report transaction to 
Adam--keep them honest though scheme was not. 

Multiply this theft of about HK$3, 000 by hundreds somewhat like 

it . 

I can't describe jiggery-pokery Mike used to balance his books 
while keeping thousands of thefts from showing. But bear in mind that an 
auditor must assume that machines are honest. He will make test runs to 
check that machines are working correctly--but will not occur to him that 
tests prove nothing because machine itself is dishonest. Mike's thefts 
were never large enough to disturb economy; like half-liter of blood, 
amount was too small to hurt donor. I can't make up mind who lost, money 
was swapped around so many ways. But scheme troubled me; I was brought up 
to be honest, except with Authority. Prof claimed that what was taking 
place was a mild inflation offset by fact that we plowed money back in-- 
but I should remember that Mike had records and all could be restored 

after Revolution, with ease since we would no longer be bled in much 
larger amounts by Authority. 

I told conscience to go to sleep. Was pipsqueak compared to 
swindles by every government throughout history in financing every war— 
and is not revolution a war? 

This money, after passing through many hands (augmented by Mike 
each time), wound up as senior financing of LuNoHo Company. Was a mixed 
company, mutual and stock; "gentleman-adventurer" guarantors who backed 
stock put up that stolen money in own names. Won't discuss bookkeeping 
this firm used. Since Mike ran everything, was not corrupted by any tinge 
of honesty. 

Nevertheless its shares were traded in Hong Kong Luna Exchange and 
listed in Zurich, London, and New York. Wall Street Journal called it "an 
attractive high-risk-high-gain investment with novel growth potential." 

LuNoHoCo was an engineering and exploitation firm, engaged in many 
ventures, mostly legitimate. But prime purpose was to build a second 
catapult, secretly. 

Operation could not be secret. You can't buy or build a hydrogen- 
fusion power plant for such and not have it noticed. (Sunpower was 
rejected for obvious reasons.) Parts were ordered from Pittsburgh, 
standard UnivCalif equipment, and we happily paid their royalties to get 
top quality. Can't build a stator for a kilometers-long induction field 
without having it noticed, either. But most important you cannot do major 
construction hiring many people and not have it show. Sure, catapults are 
mostly vacuum; stator rings aren't even close together at ejection end. 
But Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long. It 
was not only an astrogation landmark, on every Luna-jump chart, but was 
so big it could be photographed or seen by eye from Terra with not-large 
telescope. It showed up beautifully on a radar screen. 

We were building a shorter catapult, a 10-g job, but even that was 
thirty kilometers long, too big to hide. 

So we hid it by Purloined Letter method. 

I used to question Mike's endless reading of fiction, wondering 
what notions he was getting. But turned out he got a better feeling for 
human life from stories than he had been able to garner from facts; 
fiction gave him a gestalt of life, one taken for granted by a human; he 
lives it. Besides this "humanizing" effect, Mike's substitute for 
experience, he got ideas from "not-true data" as he called fiction. How 
to hide a catapult he got from Edgar Allan Poe. 

We hid it in literal sense, too; this catapult had to be 
underground, so that it would not show to eye or radar. But had to be 
hidden in more subtle sense; selenographic location had to be secret. 

How can this be, with a monster that big, worked on by so many 
people? Put it this way: Suppose you live in Novylen; know where Luna 
City is? Why, on east edge of Mare Crisium; everybody knows that. So? 

What latitude and longitude? Huh? Look it up in a reference book! So? If 
you don't know where any better than that, how did you find it last week? 
No huhu, cobber; I took tube, changed at Torricelli, slept rest of way; 
finding it was capsule's worry. 

See? You don't know where Luna City is! You simply get out when 
capsule pulls in at Tube Station South. 

That's how we hid catapult. 

Is in Mare Undarum area, "everybody knows that." But where it is 
and where we said it was differ by amount greater or less than one 

hundred kilometers in direction north, south, east, or west, or some 
combination . 

Today you can look up its location in reference books--and find 
same wrong answer. Location of that catapult is still most closely 
guarded secret in Luna. 

Can't be seen from space, by eye or radar. Is underground save for 
ejection and that is a big black shapeless hole like ten thousand others 
and high up an uninviting mountain with no place for a jump rocket to put 
down . 

Nevertheless many people were there, during and after construction. 
Even Warden visited and my co-husband Greg showed him around. Warden went 
by mail rocket, commandeered for day, and his Cyborg was given 
coordinates and a radar beacon to home on--a spot in fact not far from 
site. But from there, it was necessary to travel by rolligon and our 
lorries were not like passenger buses from Endsville to Beluthihatchie in 
old days; they were cargo carriers, no ports for sightseeing and a ride 
so rough that human cargo had to be strapped down. Warden wanted to ride 
up in cab but--sorry, Gospodin ! -- j ust space for wrangler and his helper 
and took both to keep her steady. 

Three hours later he did not care about anything but getting home. 
He stayed one hour and was not interested in talk about purpose of all 
this drilling and value of resources uncovered. 

Less important people, workmen and others, traveled by 
interconnecting ice-exploration bores, still easier way to get lost. If 
anybody carried an inertial pathfinder in his luggage, he could have 
located site--but security was tight. One did so and had accident with p- 
suit; his effects were returned to L-City and his pathfinder read what it 
should--!, e., what we wanted it to read, for I made hurried trip out 
with number-three arm along. You can reseal one without a trace if you do 
it in nitrogen atmosphere-- I wore an oxygen mask at slight overpressure. 
No huhu . 

We entertained vips from Earth, some high in Authority. They 
traveled easier underground route; I suppose Warden had warned them. But 
even on that route is one thirty-kilometer stretch by rolligon. We had 
one visitor from Earth who looked like trouble, a Dr. Dorian, physicist 
and engineer. Lorry tipped over--silly driver tried shortcut--they were 
not in line-of-sight for anything and their beacon was smashed. Poor Dr. 
Dorian spent seventy-two hours in an unsealed pumice igloo and had to be 
returned to L-City ill from hypoxia and overdose of radiation despite 
efforts on his behalf by two Party members driving him. 

Might have been safe to let him see; he might not have spotted 
doubletalk and would not have spotted error in location. Few people look 
at stars when p-suited even when Sun doesn't make it futile; still fewer 
can read stars — and nobody can locate himself on surface without help 
unless he has instruments, knows how to use them and has tables and 
something to give a time tick. Put at crudest level, minimum would be 
octant, tables, and good watch. Our visitors were even encouraged to go 
out on surface but if one had carried an octant or modern equivalent, 
might have had accident. 

We did not make accidents for spies. We let them stay, worked them 
hard, and Mike read their reports . One reported that he was certain that 
we had found uranium ore, something unknown in Luna at that time. Project 
Centerbore being many years later. Next spy came out with kit of 
radiation counters. We made it easy for him to sneak them through bore. 

By March '76 catapult was almost ready, lacking only installation 
of stator segments. Power plant was in and a co-ax had been strung 
underground with a line-of-sight link for that thirty kilometers. Crew 
was down to skeleton size, mostly Party members. But we kept one spy so 
that Alvarez could have regular reports--didn ' t want him to worry; it 
tended to make him suspicious. Instead we worried him in warrens. 


Were changes in those eleven months. Wyoh was baptized into Greg's 
church. Prof's health became so shaky that he dropped teaching, Mike took 
up writing poetry. Yankees finished in cellar. Wouldn't have minded 
paying Prof if they had been nosed out, but from pennant to cellar in one 
season— I quit watching them on video. 

Prof's illness was phony. He was in perfect shape for age, 
exercising in hotel room three hours each day, and sleeping in three 
hundred kilograms of lead pajamas. And so was I, and so was Wyoh, who 
hated it. I don't think she ever cheated and spent night in comfort 
though can't say for sure; I was not dossing with her. She had become a 
fixture in Davis family. Took her one day to go from "Gospazha Davis" to 
"Gospazha Mum, " one more to reach "Mum" and now it might be "Mimi Mum" 
with arm around Mum's waist. When Zebra File showed she couldn't go back 
to Hong Kong, Sidris had taken Wyoh into her beauty shop after hours and 
done a job which left skin same dark shade but would not scrub off. 

Sidris also did a hairdo on Wyoh that left it black and looking as if 
unsuccessfully unkinked. Plus minor touches — opaque nail enamel, plastic 
inserts for cheeks and nostrils and of course she wore her dark-eyed 
contact lenses. When Sidris got through, Wyoh could have gone bundling 
without fretting about her disguise; was a perfect "colored" with 
ancestry to match — Tamil , a touch of Angola, German. I called her "Wyma" 
rather than "Wyoh." 

She was gorgeous. When she undulated down a corridor, boys followed 
in swarms . 

She started to learn farming from Greg but Mum put stop to that. 
While she was big and smart and willing, our farm is mostly a male 
operation--and Greg and Hans were not only male members of our family 
distracted; she cost more farming man-hours than her industry equaled. So 
Wyoh went back to housework, then Sidris took her into beauty shop as 
helper . 

Prof played ponies with two accounts, betting one by Mike's 
"leading apprentice" system, other by his own "scientific" system. By 
July '75 he admitted that he knew nothing about horses and went solely to 
Mike's system, increasing bets and spreading them among many bookies. His 
winnings paid Party's expenses while Mike built swindle that financed 
catapult. But Prof lost interest in a sure thing and merely placed bets 
as Mike designated. He stopped reading pony j ournals — sad, something dies 
when an old horseplayer quits . 

Ludmilla had a girl which they say is lucky in a first and which 
delighted me--every family needs a girl baby. Wyoh surprised our women by 

being expert in midwifery--and surprised them again that she knew nothing 
about baby care. Our two oldest sons found marriages at last and Teddy, 
thirteen, was opted out. Greg hired two lads from neighbor farms and, 
after six months of working and eating with us, both were opted in--not 
rushing things, we had known them and their families for years. It 
restored balance we had lacked since Ludmilla's opting and put stop to 

snide remarks from mothers of bachelors who had not found marriages not 

that Mum wasn't capable of snubbing anyone she did not consider up to 
Davis standards. 

Wyoh recruited Sidris; Sidris started own cell by recruiting her 
other assistant and Bon Ton Beaute Shoppe became hotbed of subversion. We 
started using our smallest kids for deliveries and other jobs a child can 
do--they can stake out or trail a person through corridors better than an 
adult, and are not suspected. Sidris grabbed this notion and expanded it 
through women recruited in beauty parlor. 

Soon she had so many kids on tap that we could keep all of 
Alvarez's spies under surveillance. With Mike able to listen at any phone 
and a child spotting it whenever a spy left home or place of work or 
wherever--with enough kids on call so that one could phone while another 
held down a new stakeout--we could keep a spy under tight observation and 
keep him from seeing anything we didn't want him to see. Shortly we were 
getting reports spies phoned in without waiting for Zebra File; it did a 
sod no good to phone from a taproom instead of home; with Baker Street 
Irregulars on job Mike was listening before he finished punching number. 

These kids located Alvarez's deputy spy boss in L-City. We knew he 
had one because these finks did not report to Alvarez by phone, nor did 
it seem possible that Alvarez could have recruited them as none of them 
worked in Complex and Alvarez came inside Luna City only when an 
Earthside vip was so important as to rate a bodyguard commanded by 
Alvarez in person. 

His deputy turned out to be two people--an old lag who ran a candy, 
news, and bookie counter in Old Dome and his son who was on civil service 
in Complex. Son carried reports in, so Mike had not been able to hear 
them . 

We let them alone. But from then on we had fink field reports half 
a day sooner than Alvarez. This advantage--all due to kids as young as 
five or six--saved lives of seven comrades. All glory to Baker Street 
I rregulars ! 

Don't remember who named them but think it was Mike--I was merely a 
Sherlock Homes fan whereas he really did think he was Sherlock Holmes's 
brother Mycroft... nor would I swear he was not; "reality" is a slippery 
notion. Kids did not call themselves that; they had their own play gangs 
with own names. Nor were they burdened with secrets which could endanger 
them; Sidris left it to mothers to explain why they were being asked to 
do these jobs save that they were never to be told real reason. Kids will 
do anything mysterious and fun; look how many of their games are based on 
outsmarting . 

Bon Ton salon was a clearinghouse of gossip--women get news faster 
than Daily Lunatic. I encouraged Wyoh to report to Mike each night, not 
try to thin gossip down to what seemed significant because was no telling 
what might be significant once Mike got through associating it with a 
million other facts. 

Beauty parlor was also place to start rumors . Party had grown 
slowly at first, then rapidly as powers-of-three began to be felt and 

also because Peace Dragoons were nastier than older bodyguard. As numbers 
increased we shifted to high speed on agitprop, black-propaganda rumors, 
open subversion, provocateur activities, and sabotage. Finn Nielsen 
handled agitprop when it was simpler as well as dangerous job of 
continuing to front for and put cover-up activity into older, spyridden 
underground. But now a large chunk of agitprop and related work was given 
to Sidris . 

Much involved distributing handbills and such. No subversive 
literature was ever in her shop, nor our home, nor that hotel room; 
distribution was done by kids, too young to read. 

Sidris was also working a full day bending hair and such. About 
time she began to have too much to do I happened one evening to make 
walk-about on Causeway with Sidris on my arm when I caught sight of a 
familiar face and f igure--skinny little girl, all angles, carrot-red 
hair. She was possibly twelve, at stage when a fern shoots up just before 
blossoming out into rounded softness. I knew her but could not say why or 
when or where . 

I said, "Psst, doll baby. Eyeball young fern ahead. Orange hair, no 
cushions . " 

Sidris looked her over. "Darling, I knew you were eccentric. But 
she's still a boy." 

"Damp it. Who?" 

"Bog knows. Shall I sprag her?" 

Suddenly I remembered like video coming on. And wished Wyoh were 
with me-but Wyoh and I were never together in public. This skinny redhead 
had been at meeting where Shorty was killed. She sat on floor against 
wall down front and listened with wide-eyed seriousness and applauded 
fiercely. Then I had seen her at end in free traj ectory--curled into ball 
in air and had hit a yellow jacket in knees, he whose jaw I broke a 
moment later. 

Wyoh and I were alive and free because this kid moved fast in a 
crisis. "No, don't speak to her," I told Sidris. "But I want to keep her 
in sight. Wish we had one of your Irregulars here. Damn." 

"Drop off and phone Wyoh, you'll have one in five minutes," my wife 


I did. Then Sidris and I strolled, looking in shopwindows and 
moving slowly, as quarry was window-shopping. In seven or eight minutes a 
small boy came toward us, stopped and said, "Hello, Auntie Mabell. Hi, 
Uncle Joe . " 

Sidris took his hand. "Hi, Tony. How's your mother, dear?" 

"Just fine." He added in a whisper, "I'm Jock." 

"Sorry." Sidris said quietly to me, "Stay on her," and took Jock 
into a tuck shop. 

She came out and joined me. Jock followed her licking a lollipop. 
"'Bye, Auntie Mabel! Thanks!" He danced away, rotating, wound up by that 
little redhead, stood and stared into a display, solemnly sucking his 
sweet. Sidris and I went home. 

A report was waiting. "She went into Cradle Roll Creche and hasn't 
come out. Do we stay on it?" 

"A bit yet, " I told Wyoh, and asked if she remembered this kid. She 
did, but had no idea who she might be. "You could ask Finn." 

"Can do better." I called Mike. 

Yes, Cradle Roll Creche had a phone and Mike would listen. Took him 
twenty minutes to pick up enough to give analysis--many young voices and 

at such ages almost sexless. But presently he told me, "Man, I hear three 
voices that could match the age and physical type you described. However, 
two answer to names which I assume to be masculine. The third answers 
when anyone says ' Hazel ' --which an older female voice does repeatedly. 

She seems to be Hazel's boss." 

"Mike, look at old organization file. Check Hazels." 

"Four Hazels," he answered at once, "and here she is: Hazel Meade, 
Young Comrades Auxiliary, address Cradle Roll Creche, born 25 December 
2063, mass thirty-nine kilos, height--" 

"That's our little jump jet! Thanks, Mike. Wyoh, call off stake- 
out . Good job!" 

"Mike, call Donna and pass the word, that's a dear." 

I left it to girls to recruit Hazel Meade and did not eyeball her 
until Sidris moved her into our household two weeks later. But Wyoh 
volunteered a report before then; policy was involved. Sidris had filled 
her cell but wanted Hazel Meade. Besides this irregularity, Sidris was 
doubtful about recruiting a child. Policy was adults only, sixteen and 
up . 

I took it to Adam Selene and executive cell. "As I see," I said, 
"this cells-of-three system is to serve us, not bind us. See nothing 
wrong in Comrade Cecilia having an extra. Nor any real danger to 
security . " 

"I agree," said Prof. "But I suggest that the extra member not be 
part of Cecilia's cell--she should not know the others, I mean, unless 
the duties Cecilia gives her make it necessary. Nor do I think she should 
recruit, at her age. The real question is her age." 

"Agreed," said Wyoh. "I want to talk about this kid's age." 

"Friends," Mike said diffidently (diffidently first time in weeks; 
he was now that confident executive "Adam Selene" much more than lonely 
machine) --"perhaps I should have told you, but I have already granted 
similar variations. It did not seem to require discussion." 

"It doesn't, Mike," Prof reassured him. "A chairman must use his 
own judgment. What is our largest cell?" 

"Five, it is a double cell, three and two." 

"No harm done. Dear Wyoh, does Sidris propose to make this child a 
full comrade? Let her know that we are committed to revolution... with 
all the bloodshed, disorder, and possible disaster that entails?" 

"That's exactly what she is requesting." 

"But, dear lady, while we are staking our lives, we are old enough 
to know it. For that, one should have an emotional grasp of death. 
Children seldom are able to realize that death will come to them 
personally. One might define adulthood as the age at which a person 
learns that he must die... and accepts his sentence undismayed." 

"Prof," I said, "I know some mighty tall children. Seven to two 
some are in Party." 

"No bet, cobber. It'll give odds that at least half of them don't 
qualify--and we may find it out the hard way at the end of this our 
folly. " 

"Prof," Wyoh insisted. "Mike, Mannie. Sidris is certain this child 
is an adult. And I think so, too." 

"Man?" asked Mike. 

"Let's find way for Prof to meet her and form own opinion. I was 
taken by her. Especially her go-to-hell fighting. Or would never have 
started it." 

We adjourned and I heard no more. Hazel showed up at dinner shortly 
thereafter as Sidris' guest. She showed no sign of recognizing me, nor 
did I admit that I had ever seen her--but learned long after that she had 
recognized me, not just by left arm but because I had been hatted and 
kissed by tall blonde from Hong Kong. Furthermore Hazel had seen through 
Wyoming's disguise, recognized what Wyoh never did successfully disguise: 
her voice . 

But Hazel used lip glue. If she ever assumed I was in conspiracy 
she never showed it. 

Child's history explained her, far as background can explain steely 
character. Transported with parents as a baby much as Wyoh had been, she 
had lost father through accident while he was convict labor, which her 
mother blamed on indifference of Authority to safety of penal colonists. 
Her mother lasted till Hazel was five; what she died from Hazel did not 
know; she was then living in creche where we found her. Nor did she know 
why parents had been shipped--possibly for subversion if they were both 
under sentence as Hazel thought. As may be, her mother left her a fierce 
hatred of Authority and Warden. 

Family that ran Cradle Roll let her stay; Hazel was pinning diapers 
and washing dishes as soon as she could reach. She had taught herself to 
read, and could print letters but could not write. Her knowledge of math 
was only that ability to count money that children soak up through their 
skins . 

Was fuss over her leaving creche; owner and husbands claimed Hazel 
owed several years' service. Hazel solved it by walking out, leaving her 
clothes and fewer belongings behind. Mum was angry enough to want family 
to start trouble which could wind up in "brawling" she despised. But I 
told her privately that, as her cell leader, I did nor want our family in 
public eye--and hauled out cash and told her Party would pay for clothes 
for Hazel. Mum refused money, called off a family meeting, took Hazel 
into town and was extravagant--for Mum--in re-outfitting her. 

So we adopted Hazel. I understand that these days adopting a child 
involves red tape; in those days it was as simple as adopting a kitten. 

Was more fuss when Mum started to place Hazel in school, which 
fitted neither what Sidris had in mind nor what Hazel had been led to 
expect as a Party member and comrade. Again I butted in and Mum gave in 
part way. Hazel was placed in a tutoring school close to Sidris' shop-- 
that is, near easement lock thirteen; beauty parlor was by it (Sidris had 
good business because close enough that our water was piped in, and used 
without limit as return line took it back for salvage) . Hazel studied 
mornings and helped in afternoons, pinning on gowns, handing out towels, 
giving rinses, learning trade--and whatever else Sidris wanted. 

"Whatever else" was captain of Baker Street Irregulars. 

Hazel had handled younger kids all her short life. They liked her; 
she could wheedle them into anything; she understood what they said when 
an adult would find it gibberish. She was a perfect bridge between Party 
and most junior auxiliary. She could make a game of chores we assigned 
and persuade them to play by rules she gave them, and never let them know 
it was adult-serious but child-serious, which is another matter. 

For example: Let's say a little one, too young to read, is caught 
with a stack of subversive literature--which happened more than once. 
Here's how it would go, after Hazel indoctrinated a kid: ADULT: 

"Baby, where did you get this?" 

BAKER STREET IRREGULAR: "I'm not a baby, I'm a big boy!" 

ADULT: "Okay, big boy, where did you get this?" 

B.S.I.: "Jackie give it to me." 

ADULT: "Who is Jackie?" 

B . S . I . : " Jackie . " 

ADULT: "But what's his last name?" 

B.S.I . : "Who?" 

ADULT: "Jackie." 

B.S.I. : (scornfully) "Jackie's a girl!" 

ADULT: "All right, where does she live?" 

B.S.I: "Who?" 

And so on around--To all questions key answer was of pattern: 
"Jackie give it to me." Since Jackie didn't exist, he (she) didn't have a 
last name, a home address, nor fixed sex. Those children enjoyed making 
fools of adults, once they learned how easy it was. 

At worst, literature was confiscated. Even a squad of Peace 
Dragoons thought twice before trying to "arrest" a small child. Yes, we 
were beginning to have squads of Dragoons inside Luna city, but never 
less than a squad--some had gone in singly and not come back. 

When Mike started writing poetry I didn't know whether to laugh or 
cry. He wanted to publish it! Shows how thoroughly humanity had corrupted 
this innocent machine that he should wish to see his name in print. 

I said, "Mike, for Bog's sake! Blown all circuits? Or planning to 
give us away?" 

Before he could sulk Prof said, "Hold on, Manuel; I see 
possibilities. Mike, would it suit you to take a pen name?" 

That's how "Simon Jester" was born. Mike picked it apparently by 
tossing random numbers. But he used another name for serious verse, his 
Party name, Adam Selene. 

"Simon's" verse was doggerel, bawdy, subversive, ranging from 
poking fun at vips to savage attacks on Warden, system. Peace Dragoons, 
finks. You found it on walls of public W. C. s, or on scraps of paper 
left in tube capsules : Or in taprooms . Wherever they were they were 
signed "Simon Jester" and with a matchstick drawing of a little horned 
devil with big grin and forked tail. Sometimes he was stabbing a fat man 
with a pitchfork. Sometimes just his face would appear, big grin and 
horns, until shortly even horns and grin meant "Simon was here." 

Simon appeared all over Luna same day and from then on never let 
up. Shortly he started receiving volunteer help; his verses and little 
pictures, so simple anybody could draw them, began appearing more places 
than we had planned. This wider coverage had to be from fellow travelers. 
Verses and cartoons started appearing inside Complex--which could not 
have been our work; we never recruited civil servants. Also, three days 
after initial appearance of a very rough limerick, one that implied that 
Warden's fatness derived from unsavory habits, this limerick popped up on 
pressure-sticky labels with cartoon improved so that fat victim flinching 
from Simon's pitchfork was recognizably Mort the Wart. We didn't buy 
them, we didn't print them. But they appeared in L-City and Novylen and 
Hong Kong, stuck almost everywhere--public phones, stanchions in 
corridors, pressure locks, ramp railings, other. I had a sample count 
made, fed it to Mike; he reported that over seventy thousand labels had 
been used in L-City alone. 

I did not know of a printing plant in L-City willing to risk such a 
job and equipped for it. Began to wonder if might be another 
revolutionary cabal? 

Simon's verses were such a success that he branched out as a 
poltergeist and neither Warden nor security chief was allowed to miss it. 
"Dear Mort the Wart," ran one letter. "Do please be careful from midnight 
to four hundred tomorrow. Love & Kisses, Simon"--with horns and grin. In 
same mail Alvarez received one reading: "Dear Pimplehead, If the Warden 
breaks his leg tomorrow night it will be your fault. Faithfully your 
conscience, Simon"--again with horns and smile. 

We didn't have anything planned; we just wanted Mort and Alvarez to 
lose sleep--which they did, plus bodyguard. All Mike did was to call 
Warden's private phone at intervals from midnight to four hundred--an 
unlisted number supposedly known only to his personal staff. By calling 
members of his personal staff simultaneously and connecting them to Mort 
Mike not only created confusion but got Warden angry at his assistants-- 
he flatly refused to believe their denials. 

But was luck that Warden, goaded too far, ran down a ramp. Even a 
new chum does that only once. So he walked on air and sprained an ankle-- 
close enough to a broken leg and Alvarez was there when it happened. 

Those sleep-losers were mostly just that. Like rumor that Authority 
catapult had been mined and would be blown up, another night. Ninety plus 
eighteen men can't search a hundred kilometers of catapult in hours, 
especially when ninety are Peace Dragoons not used to p-suit work and 
hating it--this midnight came at new earth with Sun high; they were 
outside far longer than is healthy, managed to cook up their own 
accidents while almost cooking themselves, and showed nearest thing to 
mutiny in regiment's history. One accident was fatal. Did he fall or was 
he pushed? A sergeant . 

Midnight alarms made Peace Dragoons on passport watch much taken by 
yawning and more bad-tempered, which produced more clashes with Loonies 
and still greater resentment both ways--so Simon increased pressure. 

Adam Selene's verse was on a higher plane. Mike submitted it to 
Prof and accepted his literary judgment (good, I think) without 
resentment. Mike's scansion and rhyming were perfect, Mike being a 
computer with whole English language in his memory and able to search for 
a fitting word in microseconds. What was weak was self-criticism. That 
improved rapidly under Prof's stern editorship. 

Adam Selene's by-line appeared first in dignified pages of Moonglow 
over a somber poem titled: "Home." Was dying thoughts of old transportee, 
his discovery as he is about to leave that Luna is his beloved home. 
Language was simple, rhyme scheme unforced, only thing faintly subversive 
was conclusion on part of dying man that even many wardens he has endured 
was not too high a price. 

Doubt if Moonglow 's editors thought twice. Was good stuff, they 
published . 

Alvarez turned editorial office inside out trying to get a line 
back to Adam Selene. Issue had been on sale half a lunar before Alvarez 
noticed it, or had it called to his attention; we were fretted, we wanted 
that by-line noticed. We were much pleased with way Alvarez oscillated 
when he did see it. 

Editors were unable to help fink boss. They told him truth: Poem 
had come in by mail. Did they have it? Yes, surely... sorry, no envelope; 

they were never saved. After a long time Alvarez left, flanked by four 
Dragoons he had fetched along for his health. 

Hope he enjoyed studying that sheet of paper. Was piece of Adam 
Selene's business stationery: SELENE ASSOCIATES 

LUNA CITY Investments Office of the 

Chairman Old Dome --and under that was 

typed Home, by Adam Selene, etc. 

Any fingerprints were added after it left us. Had been typed on 
Underwood Office Electrostator, commonest model in Luna. Even so, were 
not too many as are importado; a scientific detective could have 
identified machine. Would have found it in Luna City office of Lunar 
Authority. Machines, should say, as we found six of model in office and 
used them in rotation, five words and move to next. Cost Wyoh and self 
sleep and too much risk even though Mike listened at every phone, ready 
to warn. Never did it that way again. 

Alvarez was not a scientific detective. 


In early '76 I had too much to do. Could not neglect customers. Party 
work took more time even though all possible was delegated. But decisions 
had to be made on endless things and messages passed up and down. Had to 
squeeze in hours of heavy exercise, wearing weights, and dasn't arrange 
permission to use centrifuge at Complex, one used by earthworm scientists 
to stretch time in Luna--while had used it before, this time could not 
advertise that I was getting in shape for Earthside. 

Exercising without centrifuge is less efficient and was especially 
boring because did not know there would be need for it. But according to 
Mike 30 percent of ways events could fall required some Loonie, able to 
speak for Party, to make trip to Terra. 

Could not see myself as an ambassador, don't have education and not 
diplomatic. Prof was obvious choice of those recruited or likely to be. 
But Prof was old, might not live to land Earthside. Mike told us that a 
man of Prof's age, body type, etc., had less than 40 percent chance of 
reaching Terra alive. 

But Prof did gaily undertake strenuous training to let him make 
most of his poor chances, so what could I do but put on weights and get 
to work, ready to go and take his place if old heart clicked off? Wyoh 
did same, on assumption that something might keep me from going. She did 
it to share misery; Wyoh always used gallantry in place of logic. 

On top of business, Party work, and exercise was farming. We had 
lost three sons by marriage while gaining two fine lads, Frank and Ali. 
Then Greg went to work for LuNoHoCo, as boss drillman on new catapult. 

Was needful. Much skull sweat went into hiring construction crew. 

We could use non-Party men for most jobs, but key spots had to be Party 
men as competent as they were politically reliable. Greg did not want to 
go; our farm needed him and he did not like to leave his congregation. 

But accepted. 

That made me again a valet, part time, to pigs and chickens. Hans 
is a good farmer, picked up load and worked enough for two men. But Greg 
had been farm manager ever since Grandpaw retired, new responsibility 
worried Hans. Should have been mine, being senior, but Hans was better 
farmer and closer to it; always been expected he would succeed Greg 
someday. So I backed him up by agreeing with his opinions and tried to be 
half a farm hand in hours I could squeeze. Left no time to scratch. 

Late in February I was returning from long trip, Novylen, Tycho 
Under, Churchill. New tube had just been completed across Sinus Medii, so 
I went on to Hong Kong in Luna--business and did make contacts now that I 
could promise emergency service. Fact that Endsville-Beluthihatchie bus 
ran only during dark semi-lunar had made impossible before. 

But business was cover for politics; liaison with Hong Kong had 
been thin. Wyoh had done well by phone; second member of her cell was an 
old comrade "Comrade Clayton" --who not only had clean bill of health in 
Alverez's File Zebra but also stood high in Wyoh's estimation. Clayton 
was briefed on policies, warned of bad apples, encouraged to start cell 
system while leaving old organization untouched. Wyoh told him to keep 
his membership, as before. 

But phone isn't face-to-face. Hong Kong should have been our 
stronghold. Was less tied to Authority as its utilities were not 
controlled from Complex; was less dependent because lack (until recently) 
of tube transport had made selling at catapult head less inviting; was 
stronger financially as Bank of Hong Kong Luna notes were better money 
than official Authority scrip. 

I suppose Hong Kong dollars weren't "money" in some legal sense. 
Authority would not accept them; times I went Earthside had to buy 
Authority scrip to pay for ticket. But what I carried was Hong Kong 
dollars as could be traded Earthside at a small discount whereas scrip 
was nearly worthless there. Money or not, Hong Kong Bank notes were 
backed by honest Chinee bankers instead of being fiat of bureaucracy. One 
hundred Hong Kong dollars was 31 .1 grams of gold (old troy ounce) 
payable on demand at home office--and they did keep gold there, fetched 
up from Australia. Or you could demand commodities: non-potable water, 
steel of defined grade, heavy water of power plant specs, other things. 
Could buy these with scrip, too, but Authority's prices kept changing, 
upward. I 'm no fiscal theorist; time Mike tried to explain I got 
headache. Simply know we were glad to lay hands on this non-money whereas 
scrip one accepted reluctantly and not just because we hated Authority. 

Hong Kong should have been Party's stronghold. But was not. We had 
decided that I should risk face-to-face there, letting some know my 
identity, as a man with one arm can't disguise easily. Was risk that 
would jeopardize not only me but could lead to Wyoh, Mum, Greg, and 
Sidris if I took a fall. But who said revolution was safe? 

Comrade Clayton turned out to be young Japanese--not too young, but 
they all look young till suddenly look old. He was not all Japanese-- 
Malay and other things--but had Japanese name and household had Japanese 
manners; "giri" and "gimu" controlled and it was my good fortune that he 
owed much gimu to Wyoh. 

Clayton was not convict ancestry; his people had been "volunteers" 
marched aboard ship at gunpoint during time Great China consolidated 
Earthside empire. I didn't hold it against him; he hated Warden as 
bitterly as any old lag. 

Met him first at a teahouse — taproom to us L-City types--and for 
two hours we talked everything but politics. He made up mind about me, 
took me home. My only complaint about Japanese hospitality is those chin- 
high baths are too bleeding hot. 

But turned out I was not jeopardized. Mama-san was as skilled at 
makeup as Sidris, my social arm is very convincing, and a kimona covered 
its seam. Met four cells in two days, as "Comrade Bork" and wearing 
makeup and kimona and tabi and, if a spy was among them, don't think he 
could identify Manuel O'Kelly. I had gone there intensely briefed, 
endless figures and projections, and talked about just one thing: famine 
in '82, six years away. "You people are lucky, won't be hit so soon. But 
now with new tube, you are going to see more and more of your people 
turning to wheat and rice and shipping it to catapult head. Your time 
will come . " 

They were impressed. Old organization, as I saw it and from what I 
heard, relied on oratory, whoop-it-up music, and emotion, much like 
church. I simply said, "There it is, comrades. Check those figures; I'll 
leave them with you." 

Met one comrade separately. A Chinee engineer given a good look at 
anything can figure way to make it. Asked this one if he had ever seen a 
laser gun small enough to carry like a rifle. He had not. Mentioned that 
passport system made it difficult to smuggle these days. He said 
thoughtfully that jewels ought not to be hard--and he would be in Luna 
City next week to see his cousin. I said Uncle Adam would be pleased to 
hear from him. 

All in all was productive trip. On way back I stopped in Novylen to 
check an old-fashioned punched-tape "Foreman" I had overhauled earlier, 
had lunch afterwards, ran into my father. He and I were friendly but 
didn't matter if we let a couple of years go by. We talked through a 
sandwich and beer and as I got up he said, "Nice to see you, Mannie . Free 
Luna! " 

I echoed, too startled not to. My old man was as cynically non- 
political as you could find; if he would say that in public, campaign 
must be taking hold. 

So I arrived in L-City cheered up and not too tired, having napped 
from Torricelli. Took Belt from Tube South, then dropped down and through 
Bottom Alley, avoiding Causeway crowd and heading home. Went into Judge 
Brody's courtroom as I came to it, meaning to say hello. Brody is old 
friend and we have amputation in common. After he lost a leg he set up as 
a judge and was quite successful; was not another judge in L-City at that 
time who did not have side business, at least make book or sell 
insurance . 

If two people brought a quarrel to Brody and he could not get them 
to agree that his settlement was just, he would return fees and, if they 
fought, referee their duel without charging--and still be trying to 
persuade them not to use knives right up to squaring off. 

He wasn't in his courtroom though plug hat was on desk. Started to 
leave, only to be checked by group coming in, stilyagi types. A girl was 
with them, and an older man hustled by them. He was mussed, and clothing 
had that vague something that says "tourist." 

We used to get tourists even then. Not hordes but quite a few. They 
would come up from Earth, stop in a hotel for a week, go back in same 
ship or perhaps stop over for next ship. Most of them spent their time 
gambling after a day or two of sightseeing including that silly walk up 

on surface every tourist makes. Most Loonies ignored them and granted 
them their foibles. 

One lad, oldest, about eighteen and leader, said to me, "Where's 

"Don't know. Not here." 

He chewed lip, looked baffled. I said, "What trouble?" 

He said soberly, "Going to eliminate his choom. But want judge to 
confirm it . " 

I said, "Cover taprooms here around. Probably find him." 

A boy about fourteen spoke up. "Say! Aren't you Gospodin O'Kelly?" 

"Right. " 

"Why don't you judge it." 

Oldest looked relieved. "Will you, Gospodin?" 

I hesitated. Sure, I've gone judge at times; who hasn't? But don't 
hanker for responsibility. However, it troubled me to hear young people 
talk about eliminating a tourist. Bound to cause talk. 

Decided to do it. So I said to tourist, "Will you accept me as your 

He looked surprised. "I have choice in the matter?" 

I said patiently, "Of course. Can't expect me to listen if you 
aren't willing to accept my judging. But not urging you. Your life, not 
mine . " 

He looked very surprised but not afraid. His eyes lit up. "My life, 
did you say?" 

"Apparently. You heard lads say they intend to eliminate you. You 
may prefer to wait for Judge Brody." 

He didn't hesitate. Smiled and said, "I accept you as my judge, 

sir . " 

"As you wish." I looked at oldest lad. "What parties to quarrel? 
Just you and your young friend?" 

"Oh, no, Judge, all of us." 

"Not your judge yet." I looked around. "Do you all ask me to 

Were nods; none said No. Leader turned to girl, added, "Better 
speak up, Tish. You accept Judge O' Kelly?" 

"What? Oh, sure!" She was a vapid little thing, vacantly pretty, 
curvy, perhaps fourteen. Slot-machine type, and how she might wind up. 
Sort who prefers being queen over pack of stilyagi to solid marriage. I 
don't blame stilyagi; they chase around corridors because not enough 
females. Work all day and nothing to go home to at night. 

"Okay, court has been accepted and all are bound to abide by my 
verdict. Let's settle fees. How high can you boys go? Please understand 
I'm not going to judge an elimination for dimes. So ante up or I turn him 
loose . " 

Leader blinked, they went into huddle. Shortly he turned and said, 
"We don't have much. Will you do it for five Kong dollars apiece?" 

Six of them--"No. Ought not to ask a court to judge elimination at 
that price." 

They huddled again. "Fifty dollars. Judge?" 

"Sixty. Ten each. And another ten from you, Tish," I said to girl. 

She looked surprised, indignant. "Come, come!" I said. "Tanstaafl." 

She blinked and reached into pouch. She had money; types like that 
always have. 

I collected seventy dollars, laid it on desk, and said to tourist, 
"Can match it?" 

"Beg pardon?" 

"Kids are paying seventy dollars Hong Kong for judgment. You should 
match it. If you can't, open pouch and prove it and can owe it to me. But 
that's your share." I added, "Cheap, for a capital case. But kids can't 
pay much so you get a bargain." 

"I see. I believe I see." He matched with seventy Hong Kong. 

"Thank you," I said. "Now does either side want a jury?" Girl's 
eyes lit up. "Sure! Let's do it right." Earthworm said, "Under the 
circumstances perhaps I need one." 

"Can have it, " I assured. "Want a counsel?" 

"Why, I suppose I need a lawyer, too." 

"I said 'counsel, ' not 'lawyer.' Aren't any lawyers here." Again he 
seemed delighted. "I suppose counsel, if I elected to have one, would be 
of the same, uh, informal quality as the rest of these proceedings?" 

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm informal sort of judge, that's all. Suit 
yourself . " 

"Mm. I think I'll rely on your informality, your honor." 

Oldest lad said, "Uh, this jury. You pick up chit? Or do we?" 

"I pay it; I agreed to judge for a hundred forty, gross. Haven't 
you been in court before? But not going to kill my net for extra I could 
do without. Six jurymen, five dollars each. See who's in Alley." 

One boy stepped out and shouted, "Jury work! Five-dollar job!" 

They rounded up six men and were what you would expect in Bottom 
Alley. Didn't worry me as had no intention of paying mind to them. If you 
go judge, better in good neighborhood with chance of getting solid 
citizens . 

I went behind desk, sat down, put on Brody's plug hat--wondered 
where he had found it. Probably a castoff from some lodge. "Court's in 
session," I said. "Let's have names and tell me beef." 

Oldest lad was named. Slim Lemke, girl war Patricia Carmen Zhukov; 
don't remember others. Tourist stepped up, reached into pouch and said, 
"My card, sir . " 

I still have it. It read: 


Poet--Traveler--Soldier of Fortune, Beef was tragically ridiculous, 
fine example of why tourists should not wander around without guides. 
Sure, guides bleed them white--but isn't that what a tourist is for? This 
one almost lost life from lack of guidance. 

Had wandered into a taproom which lets stilyagi hang out, a sort of 
clubroom. This simple female had flirted with him. Boys had let matter 
be, as of course they had to as long as she invited it. But at some point 
she had laughed and let him have a fist in ribs. He had taken it as 
casually as a Loonie would. . . but had answered in distinctly earthworm 
manner; slipped arm around waist and pulled her to him, apparently tried 
to kiss her. 

Now believe me, in North America this wouldn't matter; I've seen 
things much like it. But of course Tish was astonished, perhaps 
frightened. She screamed. 

And pack of boys set upon him and roughed him up. Then decided he 
had to pay for his "crime"--but do it correctly. Find a judge. 

Most likely they chickened. Chances are not one had ever dealt with 
an elimination. But their lady had been insulted, had to be done. 

I questioned them, especially Tish, and decided I had it straight. 
Then said, "Let me sum up. Here we have a stranger. Doesn't know our 
ways. He offended, he's guilty. But meant no offense far as I can see. 
What does jury say? Hey, you there! --wake up! What you say?" 

Juryman looked up blearily, said, "'Liminate him!" 

"Very well? And you?" 

"Well--" Next one hesitated. "Guess it would be enough just to beat 
tar out of him, so he'll know better next time. Can't have men pawing 
women, or place will get to be as bad as they say Terra is." 

"Sensible, " I agreed. "And you?" 

Only one juror voted for elimination. Others ranged from a beating 
to very high fines. 

"What do you think. Slim?" 

"Well--" He was worried--face in front of gang, face in front of 
what might be his girl. But had cooled down and didn't want chum 
eliminated. "We already worked him over. Maybe if he got down on hands 
and knees and kissed floor in front of Tish and said he was sorry?" 

"Will you do that, Gospodin LaJoie?" 

"If you so rule, your honor." 

"I don't. Here's my verdict. First that juryman--you ! --you are 
fined fee paid you because you fell asleep while supposed to be judging. 
Grab him, boys, take it away from him and throw him out." 

They did, enthusiastically; made up a little for greater excitement 
they had thought of but really could not stomach. "Now, Gospodin LaJoie, 
you are fined fifty Hong Kong for not having common sense to learn local 
customs before stirring around. Ante up." 

I collected it. "Now you boys line up. You are fined five dollars 
apiece for not exercising good judgment in dealing with a person you knew 
was a stranger and not used to our ways. Stopping him from touching Tish, 
that's fine. Rough him, that's okay, too; he'll learn faster. And could 
have tossed him out. But talking about eliminating for what was honest 
mistake--well, it's out of proportion. Five bucks each. Ante up. 

Slim gulped. "Judge... I don't think we have that much left! At 
least I don ' t . " 

"I thought that might be. You have a week to pay or I post your 
names in Old Dome. Know where Bon Ton Beaute Shoppe is, near easement 
lock thirteen? My wife runs it; pay her. Court's out. Slim, don't go 
away. Nor you, Tish. Gospodin LaJoie, let's take these young people up 
and buy them a cold drink and get better acquainted." 

Again his eyes filled with odd delight that reminded of Prof. 

"A charming idea. Judge!" 

"I'm no longer judge. It's up a couple of ramps... so I suggest you 
offer Tish your arm." 

He bowed and said, "My lady? May I?" and crooked his elbow to her. 
Tish at once became very grown up. "Spasebo, Gospodin! I am pleased." 

Took them to expensive place, one where their wild clothes and 
excessive makeup looked out of place; they were edgy. But I tried to make 
them feel easy and Stuart LaJoie tried even harder and successfully. Got 
their addresses as well as names; Wyoh had one sequence which was 
concentrating on stilyagi . Presently they finished their coolers, stood 
up, thanked and left. LaJoie and I stayed on. 

"Gospodin, " he said presently, "you used an odd word earlier--odd 
to me , I mean . " 

"Call me 'Mannie' now that kids are gone. What word?" 

"It was when you insisted that the, uh, young lady, Tish--that Tish 
must pay, too. ' Tone-stapple, ' or something like it." 

"Oh, ' tanstaafl.' Means ~There ain't no such thing as a free 
lunch.' And isn't," I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across room, 
"or these drinks would cost half as much. Was reminding her that anything 
free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless." 

"An interesting philosophy." 

"Not philosophy, fact. One way or other, what you get, you pay 
for." I fanned air. "Was Earthside once and heard expression 'Free as 
air.' This air isn't free, you pay for every breath." 

"Really? No one has asked me to pay to breathe." He smiled. 

"Perhaps I should stop." 

"Can happen, you almost breathed vacuum tonight. But nobody asks 
you because you've paid. For you, is part of round-trip ticket; for me 
it's a quarterly charge." I started to tell how my family buys and sells 
air to community co-op, decided was too complicated. "But we both pay." 

LaJoie looked thoughtfully pleased. "Yes, I see the economic 
necessity. It's simply new to me. Tell me, uh, Mannie--and I'm called 
'Stu'--was I really in danger of 'breathing vacuum'?" 

"Should have charged you more." 


"You aren't convinced. But charged kids all they could scrape up 
and fined them too, to make them think. Couldn't charge you more than 
them. Should have, you think it was all a joke." 

"Believe me, sir, I do not think it was a joke. I just have trouble 
grasping that your local laws permit a man to be put to death. . . so 
casually... and for so trivial an offense." 

I sighed. Where do you start explaining when a man's words show 
there isn't anything he understands about subject, instead is loaded with 
preconceptions that don't fit facts and doesn't even know he has? 

"Stu, " I said, "let's take that piece at a time. Are no 'local 
laws' so you couldn't be 'put to death' under them. Your offense was not 
'trivial, ' I simply made allowance for ignorance. And wasn't done 
casually, or boys would have dragged you to nearest lock to zero 
pressure, shoved you in, and cycled. Instead were most formal--good 
boys! --and paid own cash to give you a trial. And didn't grumble when 
verdict wasn't even close to what they asked. Now, anything still not 

He grinned and turned out to have dimples like Prof; found myself 
liking him still more. "All of it, I'm afraid. I seem to have wandered 
into Looking Glass Land." 

Expected that; having been Earthside I know how their minds work, 
some. An earthworm expects to find a law, a printed law, for every 
circumstance. Even have laws for private matters such as contracts. 
Really, if a man's word isn't any good, who would contract with him? 
Doesn't he have reputation? 

"We don't have laws," I said. "Never been allowed to. Have customs, 
but aren't written and aren't enforced--or could say they are self- 
enforcing because are simply way things have to be, conditions being what 
they are. Could say our customs are natural laws because are way people 
have to behave to stay alive. When you made a pass at Tish you were 
violating a natural law... and almost caused you to breathe vacuum." 

He blinked thoughtfully. "Would you explain the natural law I 
violated? I had better understand it. . . or best I return to my ship and 
stay inboard until lift. To stay alive." 

"Certainly. Is so simple that, once you understand, you'll never be 
in danger from it again. Here we are, two million males, less than one 
million females. A physical fact, basic as rock or vacuum. Then add idea 
of tanstaafl. When thing is scarce, price goes up. Women are scarce; 
aren't enough to go around--that makes them most valuable thing in Luna, 
more precious than ice or air, as men without women don't care whether 
they stay alive or not. Except a Cyborg, if you regard him as a man, 
which I don ' t . " 

I went on: "So what happens?--and mind you, things were even worse 
when this custom, or natural law, first showed itself back in twentieth 
century. Ratio was ten-to-one or worse then. One thing is what always 
happens in prisons: men turn to other men. That helps not much; problem 
still is because most men want women and won't settle for substitute 
while chance of getting true gelt. 

"They get so anxious they will kill for it... and from stories old- 
timers tell was killing enough to chill your teeth in those days. But 
after a while those still alive find way to get along, things shake down. 
As automatic as gravitation. Those who adjust to facts stay alive; those 
who don't are dead and no problem. 

"What that means, here and now, is that women are scarce and call 
tune. . . and you are surrounded by two million men who see to it you dance 
to that tune. You have no choice, she has all choice. She can hit you so 
hard it draws blood; you dasn ' t lay a finger on her. Look, you put an arm 
around Tish, maybe tried to kiss. Suppose instead she had gone to hotel 
room with you; what would happen?" 

"Heavens! I suppose they would have torn me to pieces." 

"They would have done nothing. Shrugged and pretended not to see. 
Because choice is hers. Not yours. Not theirs. Exclusively hers. Oh, be 
risky to ask her to go to hotel; she might take offense and that would 
give boys license to rough you up. But--well, take this Tish. A silly 
little tart. If you had flashed as much money as I saw in your pouch, she 
might have taken into head that a bundle with tourist was just what she 
needed and suggested it herself. In which case would have been utterly 
safe . " 

Lajoie shivered. "At her age? It scares me to think of it. She's 
below the age of consent. Statutory rape." 

"Oh, bloody! No such thing. Women her age are married or ought to 
be. Stu, is no rape in Luna. None. Men won't permit. If rape had been 
involved, they wouldn't have bothered to find a judge and all men in 
earshot would have scrambled to help. But chance that a girl that big is 
virgin is negligible. When they're little, their mothers watch over them, 
with help from everybody in city; children are safe here. But when they 
reach husband-high, is no holding them and mothers quit trying. If they 
choose to run corndors and have fun, can't stop 'em; once a girl is 
nubile, she's her own boss. You married?" 

"No." He added with a smile; "Not at present." 

"Suppose you were and wife told you she was marrying again. What 
would you do?" 

"Odd that you should pick that, something like it did happen. I saw 
my attorney and made sure she got no alimony." 

"'Alimony' isn't a word here; I learned it Earthside. Here you 
might--or a Loonie husband might--say, 'I think we'll need a bigger 
place, dear.' Or might simply congratulate her and his new co-husband. Or 
if it made him so unhappy he couldn't stand it, might opt out and pack 
clothes. But whatever, would not make slightest fuss. If he did, opinion 
would be unanimous against him. His friends, men and women alike, would 
snub him. Poor sod would probably move to Novylen, change name and hope 
to live it down. 

"All our customs work that way. If you're out in field and a cobber 
needs air, you lend him a bottle and don't ask cash. But when you're both 
back in pressure again, if he won't pay up, nobody would criticize if you 
eliminated him without a judge. But he would pay; air is almost as sacred 
as women. If you take a new chum in a poker game, you give him air money. 
Not eating money; can work or starve. If you eliminate a man other than 
self-defense, you pay his debts and support his kids, or people won't 
speak to you, buy from you, sell to you." 

"Mannie, you're telling me that I can murder a man here and settle 
the matter merely with money?" 

"Oh, not at all! But eliminating isn't against some law; are no 
laws--except Warden's regulations--and Warden doesn't care what one 
Loonie does to another. But we figure this way: If a man is killed, 
either he had it coming and everybody knows it--usual case--or his 
friends will take care of it by eliminating man who did it. Either way, 
no problem. Nor many eliminations. Even set duels aren't common." 

"'His friends will take care of it.' Mannie, suppose those young 
people had gone ahead? I have no friends here." 

"Was reason I agreed to judge. While I doubt if those kids could 
have egged each other into it, didn't want to take chance. Eliminating a 
tourist could give our city a bad name." 

"Does it happen often?" 

"Can't recall has ever happened. Of course may have been made to 
look like accident. A new chum is accident-prone; Luna is that sort of 
place. They say if a new chum lives a year, he'll live forever. But 
nobody sells him insurance first year." Glanced at time. "Stu, have you 
had dinner?" 

"No, and I was about to suggest that you come to my hotel. The 
cooking is good. Auberge Orleans." 

I repressed shudder--ate there once. "Instead, would you come home 
with me and meet my family? We have soup or something about this hour." 

"Isn't that an imposition?" 

"No. Half a minute while I phone." 

Mum said, "Manuel! How sweet, dear! Capsule has been in for hours; 

I had decided it would be tomorrow or later." 

"Just drunken debauchery, Mimi, and evil companions. Coming home 
now if can remember way — and bringing evil companion." 

"Yes, dear. Dinner in twenty minutes; try not to be late." 

"Don't you want to know whether my evil companion is male or 

"Knowing you, I assume that it is female. But I fancy I shall be 
able to tell when I see her." 

"You know me so well. Mum. Warn girls to look pretty; wouldn't want 
a visitor to outshine them." 

"Don't be too long; dinner will spoil. 'Bye, dear. Love." 

"Love, Mum." I waited, then punched MYCROFTXXX. "Mike, want a name 
searched. Earthside name, passenger in Popov. Stuart Rene LaJoie. Stuart 
with a U and last name might file under either L or J." 

Didn't wait many seconds; Mike found Stu in all major Earthside 
references: Who's Who, Dun & Bradstreet, Almanach de Gotha, London Times 
running files, name it. French expatriate, royalist, wealthy, six more 
names sandwiched into ones he used, three university degrees including 
one in law from Sorbonne, noble ancestry both France and Scotland, 
divorced (no children) from Honorable Pamela Hyphen-Hyphen-Blueblood. 

Sort of earthworm who wouldn't speak to a Loonie of convict ancestry-- 
except Stu would speak to anyone. 

I listened a pair of minutes, then asked Mike to prepare a full 
dossier, following all associational leads. "Mike, might be our pigeon." 

"Could be, Man." 

"Got to run. 'Bye." Returned thoughtfully to my guest. Almost a 
year earlier, during alcoholic talk-talk in a hotel room, Mike had 
promised us one chance in seven--if certain things were done. One sine- 
qua-non was help on Terra itself. 

Despite "throwing rocks, " Mike knew, we all knew, that mighty Terra 
with eleven billion people and endless resources could not be defeated by 
three million who had nothing, even though we stood on a high place and 
could drop rocks on them. 

Mike drew parallels from XVII I th century, when Britain's American 
colonies broke away, and from XXth, when many colonies became independent 
of several empires, and pointed out that in no case had a colony broken 
loose by brute force. No, in every case imperial state was busy 
elsewhere, had grown weary and given up without using full strength. 

For months we had been strong enough, had we wished, to overcome 
Warden's bodyguards. Once our catapult was ready (anytime now) we would 
not be helpless. But we needed a "favorable climate" on Terra. For that 
we needed help on Terra. 

Prof had not regarded it as difficult. But turned out to be quite 
difficult. His Earthside friends were dead or nearly and I had never had 
any but a few teachers. We sent inquiry down through cells: "What vips do 
you know Earthside?" and usual answer was: "You kidding?" Null program-- 
Prof watched passenger lists on incoming ships, trying to figure a 
contact, and had been reading Luna print-outs of Earthside newspapers, 
searching for vips he could reach through past connection. I had not 
tried; handful I had met on Terra were not vips. 

Prof had not picked Stu off Popov's passenger list. But Prof had 
not met him. I didn't not know whether Stu was simply eccentric as odd 
personal card seemed to show. But he was only Terran I had ever had a 
drink with in Luna, seemed a dinkum cobber, and Mike's report showed 
hunch was not all bad; he carried some tonnage. 

So I took him home to see what family thought of him. 

Started well. Mum smiled and offered hand. He took it and bowed so 
deep I thought he was going to kiss it--would have, I think, had I not 
warned him about ferns. Mum was cooing as she led him in to dinner. 


April and May '76 were more hard work and increasing effort to stir up 
Loonies against Warden, and goad him into retaliation. Trouble with Mort 
the Wart was that he was not a bad egg, nothing to hate about him other 
than fact he was symbol of Authority; was necessary to frighten him to 
get him to do anything. And average Loonie was just as bad. He despised 
Warden as matter of ritual but was not stuff that makes revolutionists; 
he couldn't be bothered. Beer, betting, women, and work--Only thing that 
kept Revolution from dying of anemia was that Peace Dragoons had real 
talent for antagonizing. 

But even them we had to keep stirred up. Prof kept saying we needed 
a "Boston Tea Party, " referring to mythical incident in an earlier 
revolution, by which he meant a public ruckus to grab attention. 

We kept trying. Mike rewrote lyrics of old revolutionary songs: 
"Marseillaise, " 

"Internationale, " 

"Yankee Doodle, " 

"We Shall Overcome, " 

"Pie in the Sky," etc., giving them words to fit Luna. Stuff like 
"Sons of Rock and Boredom/Will you let the Warden/Take from you your 
libertee!" Simon Jester spread them around, and when one took hold, we 
pushed it (music only) by radio and video. This put Warden in silly 
position of forbidding playing of certain tunes--which suited us; people 
could whistle. 

Mike studied voice and word-choice patterns of Deputy 
Administrator, Chief Engineer, other department heads; Warden started 
getting frantic calls at night from his staff. Which they denied making. 
So Alvarez put lock-and-trace on next one--and sure enough, with Mike's 
help, Alvarez traced it to supply chief's phone and was sure it was boss 
belly-robber's voice. 

But next poison call to Mort seemed to come from Alvarez, and what 
Mort had to say next day to Alvarez and what Alvaiez said in own defense 
can only be described as chaotic crossed with psychotic. 

Prof had Mike stop; was afraid Alvarez might lose job, which we did 
not want; he was doing too well for us. But by then Peace Dragoons had 
been dragged out twice in night on what seemed to be Warden's orders, 
further disrupting morale, and Warden became convinced he was surrounded 
by traitors in official family while they were sure he had blown every 
circuit . 

An ad appeared in Lunaya Pravda announcing lecture by Dr. Adam 
Selene on Poetry and Arts in Luna: a New Renaissance. No comrade 
attended; word went down cells to stay away. Nor did anybody hang around 
when three squads of Peace Dragoons showed up--this involves Heisenberg 
principle as applied to Scarlet Pimpernels. Editor of Pravda spent bad 
hour explaining that he did not accept ads in person and this one was 
ordered over counter and paid for in cash. He was told not to take ads 
from Adam Selene. This was countermanded and he was told to take anything 
from Adam Selene but notify Alvarez at once. 

New catapult was tested with a load dropped into south Indian Ocean 
at 350 E., 600 S., a spot used only by fish. Mike was joyed over his 
marksmanship since he had been able to sneak only two looks when guidance 
& tracking radars were not in use and had relied on just one nudge to 
bring it to bullseye. Earthside news reported giant meteor in sub- 

Antarctic picked up by Capetown Spacetrack with projected impact that 
matched Mike's attempt perfectly--Mike called me to boast while taking 
down evening's Reuters transmission. "I told you it was dead on," he 
gloated. "I watched it. Oh, what a lovely splash!" Later reports on shock 
wave from seismic labs and on tsunamis from oceanographic stations were 
consistent . 

Was only canister we had ready (trouble buying steel) or Mike might 
have demanded to try his new toy again. 

Liberty Caps started appearing on stilyagi and their girls; Simon 
Jester began wearing one between his horns. Bon Marche gave them away as 
premiums. Alvarez had painful talk with Warden in which Mort demanded to 
know if his fink boss felt that something should be done every time kids 
took up fad? Had Alvarez gone out of his mind? 

I ran across Slim Lemke on Carver Causeway early May; he was 
wearing a Liberty Cap. He seemed pleased to see me and I thanked him for 
prompt payment (he had come in three days after Stu's trial and paid 
Sidris thirty Hong Kong, for gang) and bought him a cooler. While we were 
seated I asked why young people were wearing red hats? Why a hat? Hat's 
were an earthworm custom, nyet? 

He hesitated, then said was sort of a lodge, like Elks. I changed 
subject. Learned that his full name was Moses Lemke Stone; member of 
Stone Gang. This pleased me, we were relatives. But surprised me. 

However, even best families such as Stones sometimes can't always find 
marriages for all sons; I had been lucky or might have been roving 
corridors at his age, too. Told him about our connection on my mother's 
side . 

He warmed up and shortly said, "Cousin Manuel, ever think about how 
we ought to elect our own Warden?" 

I said No, I hadn't; Authority appointed him and I supposed they 
always would. He asked why we had to have an Authority? I asked who had 
been putting ideas in head? He insisted nobody had, just thinking, was 
all--didn't he have a right to think? 

When I got home was tempted to check with Mike, find out lad's 
Party name if any. But wouldn't have been proper security, nor fair to 
Slim . 

On 3 May '76 seventy-one males named Simon were rounded up and 
questioned, then released. No newspaper carried story. But everybody 
heard it; we were clear down in "J's" and twelve thousand people can 
spread a story faster than I would have guessed. We emphasized that one 
of these dangerous males was only four years old, which was not true but 
very effective. 

Stu Lajoie stayed with us during February and March and did not 
return to Terra until early April; he changed his ticket to next ship and 
then to next. When I pointed out that he was riding close to invisible 
line where irreversible physiological changes could set in, he grinned 
and told me not to worry. But made arrangements to use centrifuge. 

Stu did not want to leave even by April. Was kissed goodbye with 
tears by all my wives and Wyoh, and he assured each one he was coming 
back. But left as he had work to do; by then he was a Party member. 

I did not take part in decision to recruit Stu; I felt prejudiced. 
Wyoh and Prof and Mike were unanimous in risking it; I happily accepted 
their judgment. 

We all helped to sell Stu LaJoie--self , Prof, Mike, Wyoh, Mum, even 
Sidris and Lenore and Ludmilla and our kids and Hans and Ali and Frank, 

as Davis home life was what grabbed him first. Did not hurt that Lenore 
was prettiest girl in L-City--which is no disparagement of Milla, Wyoh, 
Anna, and Sidris. Nor did it hurt that Stu could charm a baby away from 
breast. Mom fussed over him, Hans showed him hydroponic farming and Stu 
got dirty and sweaty and sloshed around in tunnels with our boys--helped 
harvest our Chinee f ishponds--got stung by our bees--learned to handle a 
p-suit and went up with me to make adjustments on solar battery--helped 
Anna butcher a hog and learned about tanning leather--sat with Grandpaw 
and was respectful to his naive notions about Terra— washed dishes with 
Milla, something no male in our family ever did—rolled on floor with 
babies and puppies — learned to grind flour and swapped recipes with Mum. 

I introduced him to Prof and that started political side of feeling 
him out. Nothing had been admitted—we could back away—when Prof 
introduced him to "Adam Selene" who could visit only by phone as he was 
"in Hong Kong at present." By time Stu was committed to Cause, we dropped 
pretense and let him know that Adam was chairman whom he would not meet 
in person for security reasons. 

But Wyoh did most and was on her judgment that Prof turned cards up 
and let Stu know that we were building a revolution. Was no surprise; Stu 
had made up mind and was waiting for us to trust him. 

They say a face once launched a thousand ships. I do not know that 
Wyoh used anything but argument on Stu. I never tried to find out. But 
Wyoh had more to do with committing me than all Prof's theory or Mike's 
figures. If Wyoh used even stronger methods on Stu, she was not first 
heroine in history to do so for her country. 

Stu went Earthside with a special codebook. I'm no code and cipher 
expert except that a computerman learns principles during study of 
information theory. A cipher is a mathematical pattern under which one 
letter substitutes for another, simplest being one in which alphabet is 
merely scrambled. 

A cipher can be incredibly subtle, especially with help of a 
computer. But ciphers all have weakness that they are patterns. If one 
computer can think them up, another computer can break them. 

Codes do not have same weakness. Let's say that codebook has letter 
group GLOPS. Does this mean "Aunt Minnie will be home Thursday" or does 
it mean "3 .14157 ... "? 

Meaning is whatever you assign and no computer can analyze it 
simply from letter group. Give a computer enough groups and a rational 
theory involving meanings or subjects for meanings, and it will 
eventually worry it out because meanings themselves will show patterns. 
But is a problem of different kind on more difficult level. 

Code we selected was commonest commercial codebook, used both on 
Terra and in Luna for commercial dispatches. But we worked it over. Prof 
and Mike spent hours discussing what information Party might wish to send 
to its agent on Terra, or receive from agent, then Mike put his vast 
information to work and came up with new set of meanings for codebook, 
ones that could say "Buy Thai rice futures" as easily as "Run for life; 
they've caught us." Or anything, as cipher signals were buried in it to 
permit anything to be said that had not been anticipated. 

Late one night Mike made print-out of new code via Lunaya Pravda's 
facilities, and night editor turned roll over to another comrade who 
converted it into a very small roll of film and passed it along in turn, 
and none ever knew what they handled or why. Wound up in Stu's pouch. 
Search of off-planet luggage was tight by then and conducted by bad- 

tempered Dragoons--but Stu was certain he would have no trouble. Perhaps 
he swallowed it. 

Thereafter some of LuNoHo Company's dispatches to Terra reached Stu 
via his London broker. 

Part of purpose was financial. Party needed to spend money 
Earthside; LuNoHoCo transferred money there (not all stolen, some 
ventures turned out well); Party needed still more money Earthside, Stu 
was to speculate, acting on secret knowledge of plan of Revolution--he, 
Prof, and Mike had spent hours discussing what stocks would go up, what 
would go down, etc., after Der Tag. This was Prof's pidgin; I am not that 
sort of gambler. 

But money was needed before Der Tag to build "climate of opinion." 
We needed publicity, needed delegates and senators in Federated Nations, 
needed some nation to recognize us quickly once The Day came, we needed 
laymen telling other laymen over a beer: "What is there on that pile of 
rock worth one soldier's life? Let 'em go to hell in their own way, I 
say ! " 

Money for publicity, money for bribes, money for dummy 
organizations and to infiltrate established organizations; money to get 
true nature of Luna's economy (Stu had gone loaded with figures) brought 
out as scientific research, then in popular form; money to convince 
foreign office of at least one major nation that there was advantage in a 
Free Luna; money to sell idea of Lunar tourism to a major cartel-- Too 
much money! Stu offered own fortune and Prof did not discourage it--Where 
treasure is, heart will be. But still too much money and far too much to 
do. I did not know if Stu could swing a tenth of it; simply kept fingers 
crossed. At least it gave us a channel to Terra. Prof claimed that 
communications to enemy were essential to any war if was to be fought and 
settled sensibly. (Prof was a pacifist. Like his vegetarianism, he did 
not let it keep him from being "rational." Would have made a terrific 
theologian . ) 

As soon as Stu went Earthside, Mike set odds at one in thirteen. I 
asked him what in hell? "But, Man, " he explained patiently, "it increases 
risk. That it is necessary risk does not change the fact that risk is 
increased . " 

I shut up. About that time, early May, a new factor reduced some 
risks while revealing others. One part of Mike handled Terra-Luna 
microwave traf f ic— commercial messages, scientific data, news channels, 
video, voice radiotelephony, routine Authority traffic--and Warden's top 
secret . 

Aside from last, Mike could read any of this including commercial 
codes and ciphers--breaking ciphers was a crossword puzzle to him and 
nobody mistrusted this machine. Except Warden, and I suspect that his was 
distrust of all machinery; was sort of person who finds anything more 
involved than a pair of scissors complex, mysterious, and suspect--Stone 
Age mind. 

Warden used a code that Mike never saw. Also used ciphers and did 
not work them through Mike; instead he had a moronic little machine in 
residence office. On top of this he had arrangement with Authority 
Earthside to switch everything around at preset times. No doubt he felt 
safe . 

Mike broke his cipher patterns and deduced time-change program just 
to try legs. He did not tackle code until Prof suggested it; it held no 
interest for him. 

But once Prof asked, Mike tackled Warden's top-secret messages. He 
had to start from scratch; in past Mike had erased Warden's messages once 
transmission was reported. So slowly, slowly he accumulated data for 
analysis--painfully slow, for Warden used this method only when he had 
to. Sometimes a week would pass between such messages. But gradually Mike 
began to gather meanings for letter groups, each assigned a probability. 

A code does not crack all at once; possible to know meanings of ninety- 
nine groups in a message and miss essence because one group is merely 
GLOPS to you. 

However, user has a problem, too; if GLOPS comes through as GLOPT, 
he's in trouble. Any method of communication needs redundancy, or 
information can be lost. Was at redundancy that Mike nibbled, with 
perfect patience of machine. 

Mike solved most of Warden's code sooner than he had projected; 
Warden was sending more traffic than in past and most of it one subject 
(which helped) --sub j ect being security and subversion. 

We had Mort in a twitter; he was yelling for help. 

He reported subversive activities still going on despite two 
phalanges of Peace Dragoons and demanded enough troops to station guards 
in all key spots inside all warrens. 

Authority told him this was preposterous, no more of FN's crack 
troops could be spared--to be permanently ruined for Earthside duties-- 
and such requests should not be made. If he wanted more guards, he must 
recruit them from transportees-but such increase in administrative costs 
must be absorbed in Luna; he would not be allowed more overhead. He was 
directed to report what steps be had taken to meet new grain quotas set 
in our such-and-such. 

Warden replied that unless extremely moderate requests for trained 
security personnel--not-repeat-not untrained, unreliable, and unfit 
convicts--were met, he could no longer assure civil order, much less 
increased quotas . 

Reply asked sneeringly what difference it made if exconsignees 
chose to riot among themselves in their holes? If it worried him, had he 
thought of shutting off lights as was used so successfully in 1996 and 
2021 ? 

These exchanges caused us to revise our calendar, to speed some 
phases, slow others. Like a perfect dinner, a revolution has to be 
"cooked" so that everything comes out even. Stu needed time Earthside. We 
needed canisters and small steering rockets and associated circuitry for 
"rock throwing." And steel was a problem--buying it, fabricating it, and 
above all moving it through meander of tunnels to new catapult site. We 
needed to increase Party at least into "K's"--say 40, 000--with lowest 
echelons picked for fighting spirit rather than talents we had sought 
earlier. We needed weapons against landings. We needed to move Mike's 
radars without which he was blind. (Mike could not be moved; bits of him 
spread all through Luna. But he had a thousand meters of rock over that 
central part of him at Complex, was surrounded by steel and this armor 
was cradled in springs; Authority had contemplated that someday somebody 
might lob H-weapons at their control center.) 

All these needed to be done and pot must not boil too soon. 

So we cut down on things that worried Warden and tried to speed up 
everything else. Simon Jester took a holiday. Word went out that Liberty 
Caps were not stylish--but save them. Warden got no more nervous-making 

phone calls. We quit inciting incidents with Dragoons-which did not stop 
them but reduced number. 

Despite efforts to quiet Mort ' s worries a symptom showed up which 
disquieted us instead. No message (at least we intercepted none) reached 
Warden agreeing to his demand for more troops--but he started moving 
people out of Complex. Civil servants who lived there started looking for 
holes to rent in L-City. Authority started test drills and resonance 
exploration in a cubic adjacent to L. City which could be converted into 
a warren. 

Could mean that Authority proposed shipping up unusually large 
draft of prisoners. Could mean that space in Complex was needed for 
purpose other than quarters. But Mike told us: "Why kid yourselves? The 
Warden is going to get those troops; that space will be their barracks. 
Any other explanation I would have heard." 

I said, "But Mike, why didn't you hear if it's troops? You have 
that code of Warden's fairly well whipped." 

"Not just 'fairly well, ' I've got it whipped. But the last two 
ships have carried Authority vips and I don't know what they talk about 
away from phones!" 

So we tried to plan to cover possibility of having to cope with ten 
more phalanges, that being Mike's estimate of what cubic being cleared 
would hold. We could deal with that many--with Mike's help--but it would 
mean deaths, not bloodless coup d'etat Prof had planned. 

And we increased efforts to speed up other factors. 

When suddenly we found ourselves committed-- 


Her name was Marie Lyons; she was eighteen years old and born in Luna, 
mother having been exiled via Peace Corps in '56. No record of father. 

She seems to have been a harmless person. Worked as a stock-control clerk 
in shipping department, lived in Complex. 

Maybe she hated Authority and enjoyed teasing Peace Dragoons. Or 
perhaps it started as a commercial transaction as cold-blooded as any in 
a crib behind a slot-machine lock. How can we know? Six Dragoons were in 
it. Not satisfied with raping her (if rape it was) they abused her other 
ways and killed her. But they did not dispose of body neatly; another 
civil service fern found it before was cold. She screamed. Was her last 

We heard about it at once; Mike called us three while Alvarez and 
Peace Dragoon C. 0. were digging into matter in Alvarez's office. Appears 
that Peace Goon boss had no trouble laying hands on guilty; he and 
Alvarez were questioning them one at a time, and quarreling between 
grillings. Once we heard Alvarez say: "I told you those goons of yours 
had to have their own women! I warned you!" 

"Stuff it," Dragoon officer answered. "I've told you time and again 
they won't ship any. The question now is how we hush this up." 

"Are you crazy? Warden already knows." 

"It's still the question." 

"Oh, shut up and send in the next one." 

Early in filthy story Wyoh joined me in workshop. Was pale under 
makeup, said nothing but wanted to sit close and clench my hand. 

At last was over and Dragoon officer left Alvarez. Were still 
quarreling. Alvarez wanted those six executed at once and fact made 
public (sensible but not nearly enough, for his needs); C. 0. was still 
talking about "hushing it up." Prof said, "Mike, keep an ear there and 
listen where else you can. Well, Mike? Wyoh? Plans?" 

I didn't have any. Wasn't a cold, shrewd revolutionist; just wanted 
to get my heel into faces that matched those six voices. "I don't know. 
What do we do. Prof?" 

"'Do'? We're on our tiger; we grab its ears. Mike. Where's Finn 
Nielsen? Find him." 

Mike answered, "He's calling now." He cut Finn in with us; I heard: 
"--at Tube South. Both guards dead and about six of our people. Just 
people, I mean, not necessarily comrades. Some wild rumor about Goons 
going crazy and raping and killing all women at Complex. Adam, I had 
better talk to Prof." 

"I'm here, Finn," Prof answered in a strong, confident voice. "Now 
we move, we've got to. Switch off and get those laser guns and men who 
trained with them, any you can round up." 

"Da! Okay, Adam?" 

"Do as Prof says. Then call back." 

"Hold it, Finn!" I cut in. "Mannie here. I want one of those guns." 

"You haven't practiced, Mannie." 

"If it's a laser, I can use it!" 

"Mannie," Prof said forcefully, "shut up. You're wasting time; let 
Finn go. Adam. Message for Mike. Tell him Plan Alert Four." 

Prof's example damped my oscillating. Had forgotten that Finn was 
not supposed to know Mike was anybody but "Adam Selene"; forgotten 
everything but raging anger. Mike said, "Finn has switched off, Prof, and 
I put Alert Four on standby when this broke. No traffic now except 
routine stuff filed earlier. You don't want it interrupted, do you?" 

"No, just follow Alert Four. No Earthside transmission either way 
that tips any news. If one comes in, hold it and consult." Alert Four was 
emergency communication doctrine, intended to slap censorship on news to 
Terra without arousing suspicion. For this Mike was ready to talk in many 
voices with excuses as to why a direct voice transmission would be 
delayed--and any taped transmission was no problem. 

"Program running," agreed Mike. 

"Good. Mannie, calm down, son, and stick to your knitting. Let 
other people do the fighting; you're needed here, we're going to have to 
improvise. Wyoh, cut out and get word to Comrade Cecilia to get all 
Irregulars out of the corridors. Get those children home and keep them 
home--and have their mothers urging other mothers to do the same thing. 

We don't know where the fighting will spread. But we don't want children 
hurt if we can help it." 

"Right away. Prof!" 

"Wait. As soon as you've told Sidris, get moving on your stilyagi. 

I want a riot at the Authority's city of fice--break in, wreck the place, 
and noise and shouting and destruction--no one hurt if it can be helped. 
Mike. Alert-Four-Em . Cut off the Complex except for your own lines." 

"Prof!" I demanded. "What sense in starting riots here?" 

"Mannie, Mannie! This is The Day! Mike, has the rape and murder 
news reached other warrens?" 

"Not that I've heard. I'm listening here and there with random 
jumps. Tube stations are quiet except Luna City. Fighting has just 
started at Tube Station West. Want to hear it?" 

"Not now. Mannie, slide over there and watch it. But stay out of it 
and slick close to a phone. Mike, start trouble in all warrens. Pass the 
news down the cells and use Finn's version, not the truth. The Goons are 
raping and killing all the women in the Complex--I ' 11 give you details or 
you can invent them. Uh, can you order the guards at tube stations in 
other warrens back to their barracks? I want riots but there is no point 
in sending unarmed people against armed men if we can dodge it." 

"I'll try." 

I hurried to Tube Station West, slowed as I neared it. Corridors 
were full of angry people. City roared in way I had never heard before 
and, as I crossed Causeway, could hear shouts and crowd noise from 
direction of Authority's city office although it seemed to me there had 
not been time for Wyoh to reach her stilyagi--nor had there been; what 
Prof had tried to start was under way spontaneously. 

Station was mobbed and I had to push through to see what I assumed 
to be certain, that passport guards were either dead or fled. 'Dead' it 
turned out, along with three Loonies. One was a boy not more than 
thirteen. He had died with his hands on a Dragoon's throat and his head 
still sporting a little red cap. I pushed way to a public phone and 

"Go back," said Prof, "and read the I. D. of one of those guards. I 
want name and rank. Have you seen Finn?" 

"No. " 

"He's headed there with three guns. Tell me where the booth you're 
in is, get that name and come back to it." 

One body was gone, dragged away; Bog knows what they wanted with 
it. Other had been badly battered but I managed to crowd in and snatch 
dog chain from neck before it, too, was taken somewhere. I elbowed back 
to phone, found a woman at it. "Lady," I said, "I've got to use that 
phone. Emergency!" 

"You're welcome to it! Pesky thing's out of order." 

Worked for me; Mike bad saved it. Gave Prof guard's name. "Good," 
he said. "Have you seen Finn? He'll be looking for you at that booth." 

"Haven't s--Hold it, just spotted him." 

"Okay, hang onto him. Mike, do you have a voice to fit that 
Dragoon's name?" 

"Sorry, Prof. No." 

"All right, just make it hoarse and frightened; chances are the C. 
0. won't know it that well. Or would the trooper call Alvarez?" 

"He would call his C. 0. Alvarez gives orders through him." 

"So call the C. 0. Report the attack and call for help and die in 
the middle of it. Riot sounds behind you and maybe a shout of 'There's 
the dirty bastard now!' just before you die. Can you swing it?" 

'Programmed. No huhu, " Mike said cheerfully. 

"Run it. Mannie, put Finn on." 

Prof's plan was to sucker off-duty guards out of barracks and keep 
suckering them--with Finn's men posted to pick them off as they got out 
of capsules. And it worked, right up to point where Mort the Wart lost 

his nerve and kept remaining few to protect himself while he sent frantic 
messages Earthside--none of which got through. 

I wiggled out of Prof's discipline and took a laser gun when second 
capsule of Peace Dragoons was due. I burned two Goons, found blood lust 
gone and let other snipers have rest of squad. Too easy. They would stick 
heads up out of hatch and that would be that. Half of squad would not 
come out--until smoked out and then died with rest. By that time I was 
back at my advance post at phone. 

Warden's decision to hole up caused trouble at Complex; Alvarez was 
killed and so was Goon C. 0. and two of original yellow jackets. But a 
mixed lot of Dragoons and yellows, thirteen, holed up with Mort, or 
perhaps were already with him; Mike's ability to follow events by 
listening was spotty. But once it seemed clear that all armed effectives 
were inside Warden's residence. Prof ordered Mike to start next phase. 

Mike turned out all lights in Complex save those in Warden's 
residence, and reduced oxygen to gasping point--not killing point but low 
enough to insure that anyone looking for trouble would not be in shape. 
But in residence, oxygen supply was cut to zero, leaving pure nitrogen, 
and left that way ten minutes. At end of that time Finn's men, waiting in 
p-suits at Warden's private tube station, broke latch on airlock and went 
in, "shoulder to shoulder." Luna was ours. 

Book Two 



So a wave of patriotism swept over our new nation and unified it. 

Isn't that what histories say? Oh, brother! 

My dinkum word, preparing a revolution isn't as much huhu as having 
won it. Here we were, in control too soon, nothing ready and a thousand 
things to do. Authority in Luna was gone--but Lunar Authority Earthside 
and Federated Nations behind it were very much alive. Had they landed one 
troopship, orbited one cruiser, anytime next week or two, could have 
taken Luna back cheap. We were a mob. 

New catapult had been tested but canned rock missiles ready to go 
you could count on fingers of one hand--my left hand. Nor was catapult a 
weapon that could be used against ships, nor against troops. We had 
notions for fighting off ships; at moment were just notions. We had a few 
hundred cheap laser guns stockpiled in Hong Kong Luna--Chinee engineers 
are smart--but few men trained to use them. 

Moreover, Authority had useful functions . Bought ice and grain, 
sold air and water and power, held ownership or control at a dozen key 
points. No matter what was done in future, wheels had to turn. Perhaps 
wrecking city offices of Authority had been hasty (I thought so) as 
records were destroyed. However, Prof maintained that Loonies, all 

Loonies, needed a symbol to hate and destroy and those offices were least 
valuable and most public. 

But Mike controlled communications and that meant control of most 
everything. Prof had started with control of news to and from Earthside, 
leaving to Mike censorship and faking of news until we could get around 
to what to tell Terra, and had added sub-phase "M" which cut off Complex 
from rest of Luna, and with it Richardson Observatory and associated 
laboratories--Pierce Radioscope, Selenophysical Station, and so forth. 
These were a problem as Terran scientists were always coming and going 
and staying as long as six months, stretching time by centrifuge. Most 
Terrans in Luna, save for a handful of tourists--thirty-four--were 
scientists. Something had to be done about these Terrans, but meanwhile 
keeping them from talking to Terra was enough. 

For time being. Complex was cut off by phone and Mike did not 
permit capsules to stop at any station in Complex even after travel was 
resumed, which it was as soon as Finn Nielsen and squad were through with 
dirty work. 

Turned out Warden was not dead, nor had we planned to kill him; 

Prof figured that a live warden could always be made dead, whereas a dead 
one could not be made live if we needed him. So plan was to half kill 
him, make sure he and his guards could put up no fight, then break in 
fast while Mike restored oxygen. 

With fans turning at top speed, Mike computed it would take four 
minutes and a bit to reduce oxygen to effective zero--so, five minutes of 
increasing hypoxia, five minutes of anoxia, then force lower lock while 
Mike shot in pure oxygen to restore balance. This should not kill anyone- 
-but would knock out a person as thoroughly as anesthesia. Hazard to 
attackers would come from some or all of those inside having p-suits . But 
even that might not matter; hypoxia is sneaky, you can pass out without 
realizing you are short on oxygen. Is new chum's favorite fatal mistake. 

So Warden lived through it and three of his women. But Warden, 
though he lived, was no use; brain had been oxygen-starved too long, a 
vegetable. No guard recovered, even though younger than he; would appear 
anoxia broke necks. 

In rest of Complex nobody was hurt. Once lights were on and oxygen 
restored they were okay, including six rapist-murderers under lock in 
barracks. Finn decided that shooting was too good for them, so he went 
judge and used his squad as jury. 

They were stripped, hamstrung at ankles and wrists, turned over to 
women in Complex. Makes me sick to think about what happened next but 
don't suppose they lived through as long an ordeal as Marie Lyons 
endured. Women are amazing creatures--sweet, soft, gentle, and far more 
savage than we are. 

Let me mention those fink spies out of order. Wyoh had been 
fiercely ready to eliminate them but when we got around to them she had 
lost stomach. I expected Prof to agree. But he shook head. "No, dear 
Wyoh, much as I deplore violence, there are only two things to do with an 
enemy: Kill him. Or make a friend of him. Anything in between piles up 
trouble for the future. A man who finks on his friends once will do it 
again and we have a long period ahead in which a fink can be dangerous; 
they must go. And publicly, to cause others to be thoughtful." 

Wyoh said, "Professor, you once said that if you condemned a man, 
you would eliminate him personally. Is that what you are going to do?" 

"Yes, dear lady, and no. Their blood shall be on my hands; I accept 
responsibility. But I have in mind a way more likely to discourage other 
finks . " 

So Adam Selene announced that these persons had been employed by 
Juan Alvarez, late Security Chief for former Authority, as undercover 
spies--and gave names and addresses. Adam did not suggest that anything 
be done . 

One man remained on dodge for seven months by changing warrens and 
name. Then early in '77 his body was found outside Novylen's lock. But 
most of them lasted no more than hours. 

During first hours after coup d'etat we were faced with a problem 
we had never managed to plan--Adam Selene himself. Who is Adam Selene? 
Where is he? This is his revolution; he handled every detail, every 
comrade knows his voice. We're out in open now... so where is Adam? 

We batted it around much of that night, in room L of Raffles-- 
argued it between decisions on a hundred things that came up and people 
wanted to know what to do, while "Adam" through other voices handled 
other decisions that did not require talk, composed phony news to send 
Earthside, kept Complex isolated, many things. (Is no possible doubt: 
without Mike we could not have taken Luna nor held it.) 

My notion was that Prof should become "Adam." Prof was always our 
planner and theoretician; everybody knew him; some key comrades knew that 
he was "Comrade Bill" and all others knew and respected Professor 
Bernardo de la Paz--My word, he had taught half of leading citizens in 
Luna City, many from other warrens, was known to every vip in Luna. 

"No, " said Prof . 

"Why not?" asked Wyoh . "Prof, you're opted. Tell him, Mike." 

"Comment reserved," said Mike. "I want to hear what Prof has to 

say . " 

"I say you've analyzed it, Mike," Prof answered. "Wyoh dearest 
comrade, I would not refuse were it possible. But there is no way to make 
my voice match that of Adam--and every comrade knows Adam by his voice; 
Mike made it memorable for that very purpose." 

We then considered whether Prof could be slipped in anyhow, showing 
him only on video and letting Mike reshape whatever Prof said into voice 
expected from Adam. 

Was turned down. Too many people knew Prof, had heard him speak; 
his voice and way of speaking could not be reconciled with Adam. Then 
they considered same possibility for me--my voice and Mike's were 
baritone and not too many people knew what I sounded like over phone and 
none over video. 

I tromped on it. People were going to be surprised enough to find 
me one of our Chairman's lieutenants; they would never believe I was 
number one. 

I said, "Let's combine deals. Adam has been a mystery all along; 
keep him that way. He'll be seen only over video--in a mask. Prof, you 
supply body; Mike, you supply voice." 

Prof shook head. "I can think of no surer way to destroy confidence 
at our most critical period than by having a leader who wears a mask. No, 
Mannie . " 

We talked about finding an actor to play it. Were no professional 
actors in Luna then but were good amateurs in Luna Civic Players and in 
Novy Bolshoi Teatr Associates. 

"No, " said Prof, "aside from finding an actor of requisite 
character--one who would not decide to be Napoleon--we can't wait. Adam 
must start handling things not later than tomorrow morning." 

"In that case," I said, "you've answered it. Have to use Mike and 
never put him on video. Radio only. Have to figure excuse but Adam must 
never be seen . " 

"I'm forced to agree," said Prof. 

"Man my oldest friend," said Mike, "why do you say that I can't be 

seen? " 

"Haven't you listened?" I said. "Mike, we have to show a face and 
body on video. You have a body--but it's several tons of metal. A face 
you don't have--lucky you, don't have to shave." 

"But what's to keep me from showing a face, Man? I'm showing a 
voice this instant. But there's no sound behind it. I can show a face the 
same way . " 

Was so taken aback I didn't answer. I stared at video screen, 
installed when we leased that room. A pulse is a pulse is a pulse. 
Electrons chasing each other. To Mike, whole world was variable series of 
electrical pulses, sent or received or chasing around his innards. 

I said, "No, Mike." 

"Why not, Man?" 

"Because you can't! Voice you handle beautifully. Involves only a 
few thousand decisions a second, a slow crawl to you. But to build up 
video picture would require, uh, say ten million decisions every second. 
Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that 
fast . " 

Mike said softly, "Want to bet, Man?" 

Wyoh said indignantly, "Of course Mike can if he says he can! 

Mannie, you shouldn't talk that way." (Wyoh thinks an electron is 
something about size and shape of a small pea.) 

"Mike," I said slowly, "I won't put money on it. Okay, want to try? 
Shall I switch on video?" 

"I can switch it on," he answered. 

"Sure you'll get right one? Wouldn't do to have this show somewhere 

else . " 

He answered testily, "I'm not stupid. Now let me be, Man--for I 
admit this is going to take just about all I've got." 

We waited in silence. Then screen showed neutral gray with a hint 
of scan lines. Went black again, then a faint light filled middle and 
congealed into cloudy areas light and dark, ellipsoid. Not a face, but 
suggestion of face that one sees in cloud patterns covering Terra. 

It cleared a little and reminded me of pictures alleged to be 
ectoplasm. A ghost of a face. 

Suddenly firmed and we saw "Adam Selene." 

Was a still picture of a mature man. No background, just a face as 
if trimmed out of a print. Yet was, to me, "Adam Selene." Could not he 
anybody else. 

Then he smiled, moving lips and jaw and touching tongue to lips, a 
quick gesture--and I was frightened. 

"How do I look?" he asked. 

"Adam," said Wyoh, "your hair isn't that curly. And it should go 
back on each side above your forehead. You look as if you were wearing a 
wig, dear . " 

Mike corrected it. "Is that better?' 

"Not quite so much. And don't you have dimples? I was sure I could 
hear dimples when you chuckle. Like Prof's." 

Mike-Adam smiled again; this time he had dimples. "How should I be 
dressed, Wyoh?" 

"Are you at your office?" 

"I'm still at office. Have to be, tonight." Background turned gray, 
then came into focus and color. A wall calendar behind him gave date, 
Tuesday 19 May 2076; a clock showed correct time. Near his elbow was a 
carton of coffee. On desk was a solid picture, a family group, two men, a 
woman, four children. Was background noise, muted roar of Old Dome Plaza 
louder than usual; I heard shouts and in distance some singing: Simon's 
version of "Marseillaise." 

Off screen Ginwallah's voice said, "Gospodin?" 

Adam turned toward it. "I'm busy, Albert," he said patiently. "No 
calls from anyone but cell B. You handle everything else." He looked back 
at us. "Well, Wyoh? Suggestions? Prof? Man my doubting friend? Will I 

I rubbed eyes. "Mike, can you cook?" 

"Certainly. But I don't; I'm married." 

"Adam," said Wyoh, "how can you look so neat after the day we've 


"I don't let little things worry me." He looked at Prof. 

"Professor, if the picture is okay, let's discuss what I'll say tomorrow. 
I was thinking of pre-empting the eight hundred newscast, have it 
announced all night, and pass the word down the cells." 

We talked rest of night. I sent up for coffee twice and Mike-Adam 
had his carton renewed. When I ordered sandwiches, he asked Ginwallah to 
send out for some. I caught a glimpse of Albert Ginwallah in profile, a 
typical babu, polite and faintly scornful. Hadn't known what he looked 
like. Mike ate while we ate, sometimes mumbling around a mouthful of 

When I asked (professional interest) Mike told me that, after he 
had picture built up, he had programmed most of it for automatic and gave 
his attention just to facial expressions. But soon I forgot it was fake. 
Mike-Adam was talking with us by video, was all, much more convenient 
than by phone . 

By oh-three-hundred we had policy settled, then Mike rehearsed 
speech. Prof found points be wanted to add; Mike made revisions, then we 
decided to get some rest, even Mike-Adam was yawning--although in fact 
Mike held fort all through night, guarding transmissions to Terra, 
keeping Complex wailed off, listening at many phones. Prof and I shared 
big bed, Wyoh stretched out on couch, I whistled lights out. For once we 
slept without weights. 

While we had breakfast, Adam Selene addressed Free Luna. 

He was gentle, strong, warm, and persuasive. "Citizens of Free 
Luna, friends, comrades--to those of you who do not know me let me 
introduce myself. I am Adam Selene. Chairman of the Emergency Committee 
of Comrades for Free Luna... now of Free Luna, we are free at last. The 
so-called 'Authority' which has long usurped power in this our home has 
been overthrown. I find myself temporary head of such government as we 
have--the Emergency Committee. 

"Shortly, as quickly as can be arranged, you will opt your own 
government." Adam smiled and made a gesture inviting help. "In the 
meantime, with your help, I shall do my best. We will make mistakes--be 

tolerant. Comrades, if you have not revealed yourselves to friends and 
neighbors, it is time you did so. Citizens, requests may reach you 
through your comrade neighbors. I hope you will comply willingly; it will 
speed the day when I can bow out and life can get back to normal--a new 
normal, free of the Authority, free of guards, free of troops stationed 
on us, free of passports and searches and arbitrary arrests. 

"There has to be a transition. To all of you--please go back to 
work, resume normal lives. To those who worked for the Authority, the 
need is the same. Go back to work. Wages will go on, your jobs stay the 
same, until we can decide what is needed, what happily no longer is 
needed now that we are free, and what must be kept but modified. You new 
citizens, transportees sweating out sentences pronounced on you 
Earthside--you are free, your sentences are finished! But in the meantime 
I hope that you will go on working. You are not required to--the days of 
coercion are gone--but you are urged to. You are of course free to leave 
the Complex, free to go anywhere... and capsule service to and from the 
Complex will resume at once. But before you use your new freedom to rush 
into town, let me remind you: 'There is no such thing as a free lunch. ' 
You are better off for the time being where you are; the food may not be 
fancy but will continue hot and on time. 

"To take on temporarily those necessary functions of the defunct 
Authority I have asked the General Manager of LuNoHo Company to serve. 
This company will provide temporary supervision and will start analyzing 
how to do away with the tyrannical parts of the Authority and how to 
transfer the useful parts to private hands. So please help them. 

"To you citizens of Terran nations among us, scientists and 
travelers and others, greetings! You are witnessing a rare event, the 
birth of a nation. Birth means blood and pain; there has been some. We 
hope it is over. You will not be inconvenienced unnecessarily and your 
passage home will be arranged as soon as possible. Conversely, you are 
welcome to stay, still more welcome to become citizens. But for the 
present I urge you to stay out of the corridors, avoid incidents that 
might lead to unnecessary blood, unnecessary pain. Be patient with us and 
I urge my fellow citizens to be patient with you. Scientists from Terra, 
at the Observatory and elsewhere, go on with your work and ignore us. 

Then you won't even notice that we are going through the pangs of 
creating a new nation. One thing--I am sorry to say that we are 
temporarily interfering with your right to communicate with Earthside. 
This we do from necessity; censorship will be lifted as quickly as 
possible--we hate it as much as you do." 

Adam added one more request: "Don't try to see me, comrades, and 
phone me only if you must; all others, write if you need to, your letters 
will receive prompt attention. But I am not twins, I got no sleep last 
night and can't expect much tonight. I can't address meetings, can't 
shake hands, can't meet delegations; I must stick to this desk and work-- 
so that I can get rid of this job and turn it over to your choice." He 
grinned at them. "Expect me to be as hard to see as Simon Jester!" 

It was a fifteen-minute cast but that was essence: Go back to work, 
be patient, give us time. 

Those scientists gave us almost no time--I should have guessed; was 
my sort of pidgin. 

All communication Earthside channeled through Mike. But those brain 
boys had enough electronic equipment to stock a warehouse; once they 

decided to, it took them only hours to breadboard a rig that could reach 
Terra . 

Only thing that saved us was a fellow traveler who thought Luna 
should be free. He tried to phone Adam Selene, wound up talking to one of 
a squad of women we had co-opted from C and D level--a system thrown 
together in self-defense as, despite Mike's request, half of Luna tried 
to phone Adam Selene after that videocast, everything from requests and 
demands to busybodies who wanted to tell Adam how to do his job. 

After about a hundred calls got routed to me through too much zeal 
by a comrade in phone company, we set up this buffer squad. Happily, 
comrade lady who took this call recognized that soothe- ' em-down doctrine 
did not apply; she phoned me. 

Minutes later myself and Finn Nielsen plus some eager guns headed 
by capsule for laboratory area. Our informant was scared to give name but 
had told me where to find transmitter. We caught them transmitting, and 
only fast action on Finn's part kept them breathing; his boys were itchy. 
But we did not want to "make an example"; Finn and I had settled that on 
way out. Is hard to frighten scientists, their minds don't work that way. 
Have to get at them from other angles. 

I kicked that transmitter to pieces and ordered Director to have 
everyone assemble in mess hall and required roll call--where a phone 
could hear. Then I talked to Mike, got names from him, and said to 
Director: "Doctor, you told me they were all here. We're missing so-and- 
so" — seven names. "Get them here!" 

Missing Terrans had been notified, had refused to stop what they 
were doing--typical scientists. 

Then I talked. Loonies on one side of room, Terrans on other. To 
Terrans I said; "We tried to treat you as guests. But three of you tried 
and perhaps succeeded in sending message Earthside." 

I turned to Director. "Doctor, I could search--warren, surface 
structures, all labs, every space--and destroy everything that might be 
used for transmitter. I'm electron pusher by trade; I know what wide 
variety of components can be converted into transmitters. Suppose I 
destroy everything that might be useful for that and, being stupid, take 
no chance and smash anything I don't understand. What result?" 

Would have thought I was about to kill his baby! He turned gray. 
"That would stop every research... destroy priceless data.., waste, oh, I 
don't know how much! Call it a half billion dollars!" 

"So I thought. Could take all that gear instead of smashing and let 
you go on best you can." 

"That would be almost as bad. You must understand, Gospodin, that 
when an experiment is interrupted--" 

"I know. Easier than moving anything--and maybe missing some--is to 
take you all to Complex and quarter you there. We have what used to be 
Dragoon barracks. But that too would ruin experiments. Besides--Where you 
from. Doctor?" 

"Princeton, New Jersey." 

"So? You've been here five months and no doubt exercising and 
wearing weights. Doctor, if we did that, you might never see Princeton 
again. If we move you, we'll keep you locked up. You'll get soft. If 
emergency goes on very long, you'll be a Loonie like it or not. And all 
your brainy help with you." 

A cocky chum stepped forward--one who had to be sent for twice. 

"You can't do this! It's against the law!" 

"What law, Gospodin? Some law back in your hometown?" I turned. 
"Finn, show him law." 

Finn stepped forward and placed emission bell of gun at man's belly 
button. Thumb started to press down--safety-switched, I could see. I 
said, "Don't kill him, Finn! "--then went on: "I will eliminate this man 
if that's what it takes to convince you. So watch each other! One more 
offense will kill all your chances of seeing home again--as well as 
ruining researches. Doctor, I warn you to find ways to keep check on your 
staff . " 

I turned to Loonies. "Tovarishchee, keep them honest. Work up own 
guard system. Don't take nonsense; every earthworm is on probation. If 
you have to eliminate some, don't hesitate. " I turned to Director. 
"Doctor, any Loonie can go anywhere any time--even your bedroom. Your 
assistants are now your bosses so far as security is concerned; if a 
Loonie decides to follow you or anybody into a W. C., don't argue; he 
might be jumpy." 

I turned to Loonies. "Security first! You each work for some 
earthworm--watch him! Split it among you and don't miss anything. Watch 
'em so close they can't build mouse trap, much less transmitter. If 
interferes with work for them, don't worry; wages will go on." 

Could see grins. Lab assistant was best job a Loonie could find 
those days--but they worked under earthworms who looked down on us, even 
ones who pretended and were oh so gracious. 

I let it go at that. When I had been phoned, I had intended to 
eliminate offenders. But Prof and Mike set me straight: Plan did not 
permit violence against Terrans that could be avoided. 

We set up "ears, " wideband sensitive receivers, around lab area, 
since even most directional rig spills a little in neighborhood. And Mike 
listened on all phones in area, After that we chewed nails and hoped. 

Presently we relaxed as news up from Earthside showed nothing, they 
seemed to accept censored transmissions without suspicion, and private 
and commercial traffic and Authority's transmissions all seemed routine. 
Meanwhile we worked, trying in days what should take months . 

We received one break in timing; no passenger ship was on Luna and 
none was due until 7 July. We could have coped--suckered a ship's 
officers to "dine with Warden" or something, then mounted guard on its 
senders or dismantled them. Could not have lifted without our help; in 
those days one drain on ice was providing water for reaction mass. Was 
not much drain compared with grain shipments; one manned ship a month was 
heavy traffic then, while grain lifted every day. What it did mean was 
that an incoming ship was not an insuperable hazard. Nevertheless was 
lucky break; we were trying so hard to make everything look normal until 
we could defend ourselves . 

Grain shipments went on as before; one was catapulted almost as 
Finn's men were breaking into Warden's residence. And next went out on 
time, and all others. 

Neither oversight nor faking for interim; Prof knew what he was 
doing. Grain shipments were a big operation (for a little country like 
Luna) and couldn't be changed in one semi-lunar; bread-and-beer of too 
many people was involved. If our committee had ordered embargo and quit 
buying grain, we would have been chucked out and a new committee with 
other ideas would have taken over. 

Prof said that an educational period was necessary. Meanwhile grain 
barges catapulted as usual; LuNoHoCo kept books and issued receipts, 

using civil service personnel. Dispatches went out in Warden's name and 
Mike talked to Authority Earthside, using Warden's voice. Deputy 
Administrator proved reasonable, once he understood it upped his life 
expectancy. Chief Engineer stayed on job, too--McIntyre was a real 
Loonie, given chance, rather than fink by nature. Other department heads 
and minor stooges were no problem; life went on as before and we were too 
busy to unwind Authority system and put useful parts up for sale. 

Over a dozen people turned up claiming to be Simon Jester; Simon 
wrote a rude verse disclaiming them and had picture on front page of 
Lunatic, Pravda, and Gong. Wyoh let herself go blond and made trip to see 
Greg at new catapult site, then a longer trip, ten days, to old home in 
Hong Kong Luna, taking Anna who wanted to see it. Wyoh needed a vacation 
and Prof urged her to take it, pointing on that she was in touch by phone 
and that closer Party contact was needed in Hong Kong. I took over her 
stilyagi with Slim and Hazel as my lieutenants--bright, sharp kids I 
could trust. Slim was awed to discover that I was "Comrade Bork" and saw 
"Adam Selene" every day; his Party name started with "G." Made a good 
team for other reason, too. Hazel suddenly started showing cushiony 
curves and not all from Mimi ' s superb table; she had reached that point 
in her orbit. Slim was ready to change her name to "Stone" any time she 
was willing to opt. In meantime he was anxious to do Party work he could 
share with our fierce little redhead. 

Not everybody was willing. Many comrades turned out to be talk-talk 
soldiers. Still more thought war was over once we had eliminated Peace 
Goons and captured Warden. Others were indignant to learn how far down 
they were in Party structure; they wanted to elect a new structure, 
themselves at top. Adam received endless calls proposing this or 
something like it--would listen, agree, assure them that their services 
must not be wasted by waiting for election--and refer them to Prof or me. 
Can't recall any of these ambitious people who amounted to anything when 
I tried to put them to work. 

Was endless work and nobody wanted to do it. Well, a few. Some best 
volunteers were people Party had never located. But in general. Loonies 
in and out of Party had no interest in "patriotic" work unless well paid. 
One chum who claimed to be a Party member (was not) spragged me in 
Raffles where we set up headquarters and wanted me to contract for fifty 
thousand buttons to be worn by pre-coup "Veterans of Revolution"--a 
"small" profit for him (I estimate 400 percent markup), easy dollars for 
me, a fine thing for everybody. 

When I brushed him off, he threatened to denounce me to Adam 
Selene--"A very good friend of mine. I'll have you know! "--for sabotage. 

That was "help" we got. What we needed was something else. Needed 
steel at new catapult and plenty--Prof asked, if really necessary to put 
steel around rock missiles; I had to point out that an induction field 
won't grab bare rock. We needed to relocate Mike's ballistic radars at 
old site and install doppler radar at new site--both jobs because we 
could expect attacks from space at old site. 

We called for volunteers, got only two who could be used--and 
needed several hundred mechanics who did not mind hard work in p-suits. 

So we hired, paying what we had to LuNoHoCo went in hock to Bank of 

Hong Kong Luna; was no time to steal that much and most funds had been 
transferred Earthside to Stu. A dinkum comrade, Foo Moses Morris, co- 
signed much paper to keep us going--and wound up broke and started over 
with a little tailoring shop in Kongville. That was later. 

Authority Scrip dropped from 3-to-l to 17-to-l after coup and civil 
service people screamed, as Mike was still paying in Authority checks. We 
said they could stay on or resign; then those we needed, we rehired with 
Hong Kong dollars. But created a large group not on our side from then 
on; they longed for good old days and were ready to stab new regime. 

Grain farmers and brokers were unhappy because payment at catapult 
head continued to be Authority scrip at same old fixed prices. "We won't 
take it!" they cried--and LuNoHoCo man would shrug and tell them they 
didn't have to but this grain still went to Authority Earthside (it did) 
and Authority scrip was all they would get. So take cheque, or load your 
grain back into rolligons and get it out of here. 

Most took it. All grumbled and some threatened to get out of grain 
and start growing vegetables or fibers or something that brought Hong 
Kong dollars--and Prof smiled. 

We needed every drillman in Luna, especially ice miners who owned 
heavy-duty laser drills. As soldiers. We needed them so badly that, 
despite being shy one wing and rusty, I considered joining up, even 
though takes muscle to wrestle a big drill, and prosthetic just isn't 
muscle. Prof told me not to be a fool. 

Dodge we had in mind would not work well Earthside; a laser beam 
carrying heavy power works best in vacuum — but there it works just dandy 
for whatever range its collimation is good for. These big drills, which 
had carved through rock seeking pockets of ice, were now being mounted as 
"artillery" to repel space attacks. Both ships and missiles have 
electronic nervous systems and does electronic gear no good to blast it 
with umpteen joules placed in a tight beam. If target is pressured (as 
manned ships are and most missiles), all it takes is to burn a hole, 
depressure it. If not pressured, a heavy laser beam can still kill it-- 
burn eyes, louse guidance, spoil anything depending on electronics as 
most everything does . 

An H-bomb with circuitry ruined is not a bomb, is just big tub of 
lithium deuteride that can't do anything but crash. A ship with eyes gone 
is a derelict, not a warship. 

Sounds easy, is not. Those laser drills were never meant for 
targets a thousand kilometers away, or even one, and was no quick way to 
rig their cradles for accuracy. Gunner had to have guts to hold fire 
until last few seconds--on a target heading at him maybe two kilometers 
per second. But was best we had, so we organized First and Second 
Volunteer Defense Gunners of Free Luna--two regiments so that First could 
snub lowly Second and Second could be Jealous of First. First got older 
men. Second got young and eager. 

Having called them "volunteers, " we hired in Hong Kong dollars--and 
was no accident that ice was being paid for in controlled market in 
wastepaper Authority script. 

On top of all, we were talking up a war scare. Adam Selene talked 
over video, reminding that Authority was certain to try to regain its 
tyranny and we had only days to prepare; papers quoted him and published 
stories of their own--we had made special effort to recruit newsmen 
before coup. People were urged to keep p-suits always near and to test 
pressure alarms in homes. A volunteer Civil Defense Corps was organized 
in each warren. 

What with moonquakes always with us, each warren's pressure co-op 
always had sealing crews ready at any hour. Even with silicone stay-soft 
and fiberglass any warren leaks. In Davis Tunnels our boys did 

maintenance on seal every day. But now we recruited hundreds of emergency 
sealing crews, mostly stilyagi, drilled them with fake emergencies, had 
them stay in p-suits with helmets open when on duty. 

They did beautifully. But idiots made fun of them--"play soldiers," 

"Adam's little apples," other names. A team was going through a 
drill, showing they could throw a temporary lock around one that had been 
damaged, and one of these pinheads stood by and rode them loudly. 

Civil Defense team went ahead, completed temporary lock, tested it 
with helmets closed; it held--came out, grabbed this joker, took him 
through into temporary lock and on out into zero pressure, dumped him. 

Belittlers kept opinions to selves after that. Prof thought we 
ought to send out a gentle warning not to eliminate so peremptorily. I 
opposed it and got my way; could see no better way to improve breed. 
Certain types of loudmouthism should be a capital offense among decent 
people . 

But our biggest headaches were self-anointed statesmen. 

Did I say that Loonies are "non-political"? They are, when comes to 
doing anything. But doubt if was ever a time two Loonies over a liter of 
beer did not swap loud opinions about how things ought to be run. 

As mentioned, these self-appointed political scientists tried to 
grab Adam Selene's ear. But Prof had a place for them; each was invited 
to take part in "Ad-Hoc Congress for Organization of Free Luna"--which 
met in Community Hall in Luna City, then resolved to stay in session 
until work was done, a week in L-City, a week in Novylen, then Hong Kong, 
and start over. All sessions were in video. Prof presided over first and 
Adam Selene addressed them by video and encouraged them to do a thorough 
j ob--"History is watching you." 

I listened to some sessions, then cornered Prof and asked what in 
Bog's name he was up to? "Thought you didn't want any government. Have 
you heard those nuts since you turned them loose?" 

He smiled most dimply smile. "What's troubling you, Manuel?" 

Many things were troubling me. With me breaking heart trying to 
round up heavy drills and men who could treat them as guns these idlers 
had spent an entire afternoon discussing immigration. Some wanted to stop 
it entirely. Some wanted to tax it, high enough to finance government 
(when ninety-nine out of a hundred Loonies had had to be dragged to The 
Rock!); some wanted to make it selective by "ethnic ratios." (Wondered 
how they would count me?) Some wanted to limit it to females until we 
were 50-50. That had produced a Scandinavian shout: "Ja, cobber! Tell 'em 
send us hoors ! Tousands and tousands of hoors ! I marry 'em, I betcha!" 

Was most sensible remark all afternoon. 

Another time they argued "time. " Sure, Greenwich time bears no 
relation to lunar. But why should it when we live Underground? Show me a 
Loonie who can sleep two weeks and work two weeks; lunars don't fit our 
metabolism. What was urged was to make a lunar exactly equal to twenty- 
eight days (instead of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2 .78 seconds) and 
do this by making days longer--and hours, minutes, and seconds, thus 
making each semi-lunar exactly two weeks. 

Sure, lunar is necessary for many purposes. Controls when we go up 
on surface, why we go, and how long we stay. But, aside from throwing us 
out of gear with our only neighbor, had that wordy vacuum skull thought 
what this would do to every critical figure in science and engineering? 

As an electronics man I shuddered. Throw away every book, table, 
instrument, and start over? I know that some of my ancestors did that in 

switching from old English units to MKS--but they did it to make things 
easier. Fourteen inches to a foot and some odd number of feet to a mile. 
Ounces and pounds. Oh, Bog! 

Made sense to change that--but why go out of your way to create 

Somebody wanted a committee to determine exactly what Loonie 
language is, then fine everybody who talked Earthside English or other 
language. Oh, my people! 

I read tax proposals in Lunatic--four sorts of "SingleTaxers"--a 
cubic tax that would penalize a man if he extended tunnels, a head tax 
(everybody pay same) , income tax (like to see anyone figure income of 
Davis Family or try to get information out of Mum! ) , and an "air tax" 
which was not fees we paid then but something else. 

Hadn't realized "Free Luna" was going to have taxes. Hadn't had any 
before and got along. You paid for what you got. Tanstaafl. How else? 

Another time some pompous choom proposed that bad breath and body 
odors be made an elimination offense. Could almost sympathize, having 
been stuck on occasion in a capsule with such stinks. But doesn't happen 
often and tends to be self-correcting; chronic offenders, or unfortunates 
who can't correct, aren't likely to reproduce, seeing how choosy women 
are . 

One female (most were men, but women made up for it in silliness) 
had a long list she wanted made permanent laws--about private matters. No 
more plural marriage of any sort. No divorces. No "fornication"--had to 
look that one up. No drinks stronger than 4% beer. Church services only 
on Saturdays and all else to stop that day. (Air and temperature and 
pressure engineering, lady? Phones and capsules?) A long list of drugs to 
be prohibited and a shorter list dispensed only by licensed physicians. 
(What is a "licensed physician"? Healer I go to has a sign reading 
"practical doctor"--makes book on side, which is why I go to him. Look, 
lady, aren't any medical schools in Luna!) (Then, I mean.) She even 
wanted to make gambling illegal. If a Loonie couldn't roll double or 
nothing, he would go to a shop that would, even if dice were loaded. 

Thing that got me was not her list of things she hated, since she 
was obviously crazy as a Cyborg, but fact that always somebody agreed 
with her prohibitions . Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop 
other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws--always for other 
fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of 
trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those 
people said: "Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I 
know I should stop." Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated 
to see neighbors doing. Stop them "for their own good"--not because 
speaker claimed to be harmed by it. 

Listening to that session I was almost sorry we got rid of Mort the 
Wart. He stayed holed up with his women and didn't tell us how to run 
private lives. 

But Prof didn't get excited; he went on smiling. "Manuel, do you 
really think that mob of retarded children can pass any laws?" 

"You told them to. Urged them to." 

"My dear Manuel, I was simply putting all my nuts in one basket. I 
know those nuts; I've listened to them for years. I was very careful in 
selecting their committees; they all have built-in confusion, they will 
quarrel. The chairman I forced on them while letting them elect him is a 
ditherer who could not unravel a piece of string--thinks every subject 

needs 'more study.' I almost needn't have bothered; more than six people 
cannot agree on anything, three is better--and one is perfect for a job 
that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, 
when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who 
dominated the rest. Never fear, son, this Ad-Hoc Congress will do 
nothing... or if they pass something through sheer fatigue, it will be so 
loaded with contradictions that it will have to be thrown out. In the 
meantime they are out of our hair. Besides, there is something we need 
them for, later." 

"Thought you said they could do nothing." 

"They won't do this. One man will write it--a dead man--and late at 
night when they are very tired, they'll pass it by acclamation." 

"Who's this dead man? You don't mean Mike?" 

"No, no! Mike is far more alive than those yammerheads . The dead 
man is Thomas Jef ferson--f irst of the rational anarchists, my boy, and 
one who once almost managed to slip over his non-system through the most 
beautiful rhetoric ever written. But they caught him at it, which I hope 
to avoid. I cannot improve on his phrasing; I shall merely adapt it to 
Luna and the twenty-first century." 

"Heard of him, Freed slaves, nyet?" 

"One might say he tried but failed. Never mind. How are the 
defenses progressing? I don't see how we can keep up the pretense past 
the arrival date of this next ship." 

"Can't be ready then." 

"Mike says we must be." 

We weren't but ship never arrived. Those scientists outsmarted me 
and Loonies I had told to watch them. Was a rig at focal point of biggest 
reflector and Loonie assistants believed doubletalk about astronomical 
purpose — a new wrinkle in radiotelescopes. 

I suppose it was. Was ultramicrowave and stuff was bounced at 
reflector by a wave guide and thus left scope lined up nicely by mirror. 
Remarkably like early radar. And metal latticework and foil heat shield 
of barrel stopped stray radiation, thus "ears" I had staked out heard 
nothing . 

They put message across, their version and in detail. First we 
heard was demand from Authority to Warden to deny this hoax, find hoaxer, 
put stop to it. 

So instead we gave them a Declaration of Independence. 

"In Congress assembled, July Fourth, Twenty-Seventy-Six--" 

Was beautiful. 


Signing of Declaration of Independence went as Prof said it would. He 
sprang it on them at end of long day, announced a special session after 
dinner at which Adam Selene would speak. Adam read aloud, discussing each 
sentence, then read it without stopping, making music of sonorous 
phrases. People wept. Wyoh, seated by me, was one, and I felt like it 
even though had read it earlier. 

Then Adam looked at them and said, "The future is waiting. Mark 
well what you do, " and turned meeting over to Prof rather than usual 
chairman . 

Was twenty-two hundred and fight began. Sure, they were in favor of 
it; news all day had been jammed with what bad boys we were, how we were 
to be punished, taught a lesson, so forth. Not necessary to spice it up; 
stuff up from Earthside was nasty--Mike merely left out on-other-hand 
opinions. If ever was a day when Luna felt unified it was probably second 
of July 2076. 

So they were going to pass it; Prof knew that before he offered it. 

But not as written-- "Honorable Chairman, in second paragraph, that 
word 'unalienable,' is no such word; should be ' inalienable ' --and anyhow 
wouldn't it be more dignified to say 'sacred rights' rather than 
'inalienable rights'? I'd like to hear discussion on this." 

That choom was almost sensible, merely a literary critic, which is 
harmless, like dead yeast left in beer. But--Well, take that woman who 
hated everything. She was there with list; read it aloud and moved to 
have it incorporated into Declaration "so that the peoples of Terra will 
know that we are civilized and fit to take our places in the councils of 
mankind ! " 

Prof not only let her get away with it; he encouraged her, letting 
her talk when other people wanted to--then blandly put her proposal to a 
vote when hadn't even been seconded. (Congress operated by rules they had 
wrangled over for days. Prof was familiar with rules but followed them 
only as suited him.) She was voted down in a shout, and left. 

Then somebody stood up and said of course that long list didn't 
belong in Declaration--but shouldn't we have general principles? Maybe a 
statement that Luna Free State guaranteed freedom, equality, and security 
to all? Nothing elaborate, just those fundamental principles that 
everybody knew was proper purpose of government. 

True enough and let's pass it--but must read "Freedom, equality, 
peace, and security"--right, Comrade? They wrangled over whether 
"freedom" included "free air," or was that part of "security"? Why not be 
on safe side and list "free air" by name? Move to amend to make it "free 
air and water "--because you didn't have "freedom" or "security" unless 
you had both air and water. 

Air, water, and food. 

Air, water, food, and cubic. 

Air, water, food, cubic, and heat. 

No, make "heat" read "power" and you had it all covered. 

Everything . 

Cobber, have you lost your mind? That's far from everything and 
what you've left out is an affront to all womankind--Step outside and say 
that! Let me finish. We've got to tell them right from deal that we will 
permit no more ships to land unless they carry at least as many women as 
men. At least, I said--and I for one won't chop it unless it sets 
immigration issue straight. 

Prof never lost dimples. 

Began to see why Prof had slept all day and was not wearing 
weights. Me, I was tired, having spent all day in p-suit out beyond 
catapult head cutting in last of relocated ballistic radars. And 
everybody was tired; by midnight crowd began to thin, convinced that 
nothing would be accomplished that night and bored by any yammer not 
their own. 

Was later than midnight when someone asked why this Declaration was 
dated fourth when today was second? Prof said mildly that it was July 
third now--and it seemed unlikely that our Declaration could be announced 
earlier than fourth and that July fourth carried historical symbolism 
that might help. 

Several people walked out at announcement that probably nothing 
would be settled until fourth of July. But I began to notice something: 
Hall was filling as fast as was emptying. Finn Nielsen slid into a seat 
that had just been vacated. Comrade Clayton from Hong Kong showed up, 
pressed my shoulder, smiled at Wyoh, found a seat. My youngest 
lieutenants. Slim and Hazel, I spotted down front--and was thinking I 
must alibi Hazel by telling Mum I had kept her out on Parts business-- 
when was amused to see Mum herself next to them. And Sidris. And Greg, 
who was supposed to be at new catapult. 

Looked around and picked out a dozen more--night editor of Lunaya 
Pravda, General Manager of LuNoHoCo, others, and each one a working 
comrade, Began to see that Prof had stacked deck. That Congress never had 
a fixed membership; these dinkum comrades had as much right to show up as 
those who had been talking a month. Now they sat--and voted down 
amendments . 

About three hundred, when I was wondering how much more I could 
take, someone brought a note to Prof. He read it, banged gavel and said, 
"Adam Selene begs your indulgence. Do I hear unanimous consent?" 

So screen back of rostrum lighted up again and Adam told them that 
he had been following debate and was warmed by many thoughtful and 
constructive criticisms. But could he made a suggestion? Why not admit 
that any piece of writing was imperfect? If thin declaration was in 
general what they wanted, why not postpone perfection for another day and 
pass this as it stands? "Honorable Chairman, I so move." 

They passed it with a yell. Prof said, "Do I hear objection?" and 
waited with gavel raised. A man who had been talking when Adam had asked 
to be heard said, "Well, . . I still say that's a dangling participle, but 
okay, leave it in." 

Prof hanged gavel. "So ordered!" 

Then we filed up and put our chops on a big scroll that had been 

"sent over from Adam's office" and I noticed Adam's chop on it. I 

signed right under Hazel--child now could write although was still short 
on book learning. Her chop was shaky but she wrote it large and proud. 
Comrade Clayton signed his Party name, real name in letters, and Japanese 
chop, three little pictures one above other. Two comrades chopped with 
X's and had them witnessed. All Party leaders were there that night 
(morning), all chopped it, and not more than a dozen yammerers stuck. But 
those who did, put their chops down for history to read. And thereby 
committed "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors." 

While queue was moving slowly past and people were talking. Prof 
banged for attention. "I ask for volunteers for a dangerous mission. This 
Declaration will go on the news channels--but must be presented in person 
to the Federated Nations, on Terra." 

That put stop to noise. Prof was looking at me. I swallowed and 
said, "I volunteer." Wyoh echoed, "So do I! "--and little Hazel Meade 
said, "Me, too ! " 

In moments were a dozen, from Finn Nielsen to Gospodin Dangling- 
Participle (turned out to be good cobber aside from his fetish) . Prof 

took names, murmured something about getting in touch as transportation 
became available. 

I got Prof aside and said, "Look, Prof, you too tired to track? You 
know ship for seventh was canceled; now they're talking about slapping 
embargo on us. Next ship they lift for Luna will be a warship. How you 
planning to travel? As prisoner?" 

"Oh, we won't use their ships." 

"So? Going to build one? Any idea how long that takes? If could 
build one at all. Which I doubt." 

"Manuel, Mike says it's necessary--and has it all worked out." 

I did know Mike said was necessary; he had rerun problem soon as we 
learned that bright laddies at Richardson had snuck one home--he now gave 
us only one chance in fifty-three... with imperative need for Prof to go 
Earthside. But I'm not one to worry about impossibilities; I had spent 
day working to make that one chance in fifty-three turn up. 

"Mike will provide the ship," Prof went on. "He has completed its 
design and it is being worked on." 

"He has? It is? Since when is Mike engineer?" 

"Isn't he?" asked Prof. 

I started to answer, shut up. Mike had no degrees. Simply knew more 
engineering than any man alive. Or about Shakespeare's plays, or riddles, 
or history, name it. "Tell me more." 

"Manuel, we'll go to Terra as a load of grain." 

"What? Who's 'we'?" 

"You and myself. The other volunteers are merely decorative." 

I said, "Look, Prof. I've stuck. Worked hard when whole thing 
seemed silly. Worn these weights--got 'em on now--on chance I might have 
to go to that dreadful place. But contracted to go in a ship, with at 
least a Cyborg pilot to help me get down safely. Did not agree to go as 
meteorite . " 

He said, "Very well, Manuel. I believe in free choice, always. Your 
alternate will go." 

"My- -Who?" 

"Comrade Wyoming. So far as I know she is the only other person in 
training for the trip... other than a few Terrans." 

So I went. But talked to Mike first. He said patiently. "Man my 
first friend, there isn't a thing to worry about. You are scheduled load 
KM187 series '76 and you'll arrive in Bombay with no trouble. But to be 
sure— to reassure you--I selected that barge because it will be taken out 
of parking orbit and landed when India is faced toward me, and I've added 
an override so that I can take you away from ground control if I don't 
like the way they handle you. Trust me, Man, it has all been thought 
through. Even the decision to continue shipments when security was broken 
was part of this plan." 

"Might have told me." 

"There was no need to worry you. Professor had to know and I've 
kept in touch with him. But you are going simply to take care of him and 
back him up--do his job if he dies, a factor on which I can give you no 
reassurance . " 

I sighed. "Okay. But, Mike, surely you don't think you can pilot a 
barge into a soft landing at this distance? Speed of light alone would 
trip you . " 

"Man, don't you think I understand ballistics? For the orbital 
position then, from query through reply and then to command-received is 

under four seconds... and you can rely on me not to waste microseconds. 
Your maximum parking-orbit travel in four seconds is only thirty-two 
kilometers, diminishing asymptotically to zero at landing. My reflex time 
will be effectively less than that of a pilot in a manual landing because 
I don't waste time grasping a situation and deciding on correct action. 

So my maximum is four seconds. But my effective reflex time is much less, 
as I project and predict constantly, see ahead, program it out--in 
effect, I'll stay four seconds ahead of you in your trajectory and 
respond instantly." 

"That steel can doesn't even have an altimeter!" 

"It does now. Man, please believe me; I've thought of everything. 
The only reason I've ordered this extra equipment is to reassure you. 
Poona ground control hasn't made a bobble in the last five thousand 
loads. For a computer it's fairly bright." 

"Okay. Uh, Mike, how hard do they splash those bleeding barges? 

What gee?" 

"Not high, Man. Ten gravities at injection, then that programs down 
to a steady, soft four gees... then you'll be nudged again between six 
and five gees just before splash. The splash itself is gentle, equal to a 
fall of fifty meters and you enter ogive first with no sudden shock, less 
than three gees. Then you surface and splash again, lightly, and simply 
float at one gee. Man, those barge shells are built as lightly as 
possible for economy's sake. We can't afford to toss them around or they 
would split their seams." 

"How sweet. Mike, what would 'six to five gees' do to you? Split 
your seams?" 

"I conjecture that I was subjected to about six gravities when they 
shipped me up here. Six gravities in my present condition would shear 
many of my essential connections. However, I'm more interested in the 
extremely high, transient accelerations I am going to experience from 
shock waves when Terra starts bombing us. Data are insufficient for 
prediction but I may lose control of my outlying functions, Man. This 
could be a major factor in any tactical situation." 

"Mike, you really think they are going to bomb us?" 

"Count on it, Man. That is why this trip is so important." 

Left it at that and went out to see this coffin. Should have stayed 

home . 

Ever looked at one of those silly barges? Just a steel cylinder 
with retro and guidance rockets and radar transponder. Resembles a 
spaceship way a pair of pliers resembles my number-three arm. They had 
this one cut open and were outfitting our "living quarters." 

No galley. No W. C. No nothing. Why bother? We were going to be in 
it only fifty hours. Start empty so that you won't need a honey sack in 
your suit. Dispense with lounge and bar; you'll never be out of your 
suit, you'll be drugged and not caring. 

At least Prof would be drugged almost whole time; I had to be alert 
at landing to try to get us out of this death trap if something went 
wrong and nobody came along with a tin opener. They were building a 
shaped cradle in which backs of our p-suits would fit; we would be 
strapped into these holes. And stay there, clear to Terra. They seemed 
more concerned about making total mass equal to displaced wheat and same 
center of gravity and all moment arms adding up correctly than they did 
about our comfort; engineer in charge told me that even padding to be 
added inside our p-suits was figured in. 

Was glad to learn we were going to have padding; those holes did 
not look soft. 

Returned home in thoughtful condition. 

Wyoh was not at dinner, unusual; Greg was, more unusual. Nobody 
said anything about my being scheduled to imitate a falling rock next day 
although all knew. But did not realize anything special was on until all 
next generation left table without being told. Then knew why Greg had not 
gone back to Mare Undarum site after Congress adjourned that morning; 
somebody had asked for a Family talk-talk. 

Mum looked around and said, "We're all here. All, shut that door; 
that's a dear. Grandpaw, will you start us?" 

Our senior husband stopped nodding over coffee and firmed up. He 
looked down table and said strongly, "I see that we are all here. I see 
that children have been put to bed. I see that there is no stranger, no 
guest . I say that we are met in accordance with customs created by Black 
Jack Davis our First Husband and Tillie our First Wife. If there is any 
matter that concerns safety and happiness of our marriage, haul it out in 
the light now. Don't let it fester. This is our custom." 

Grandpaw turned to Mum and said softly, "Take it, Mimi," and 
slumped back into gentle apathy. But for a minute he had been strong, 
handsome, virile, dynamic man of days of my opting... and I thought with 
sudden tears how lucky I had been! 

Then didn't know whether I felt lucky or not. Only excuse I could 
see for a Family talk-talk was fact that I was due to be shipped 
Earthside next day, labeled as grain. Could Mum be thinking of trying to 
set Family against it? Nobody had to abide by results of a talk-talk. But 
one always did. That was strength of our marriage: When came down to 
issues, we stood together. 

Mimi was saying, "Does anyone have anything that needs to be 
discussed? Speak up, dears." 

Greg said, "I have." 

"We'll listen to Greg." 

Greg is a good speaker. Can stand up in front of a congregation and 
speak with confidence about matters I don't feel confident about even 
when alone. But that night he seemed anything but sure of himself. "Well, 
uh, we've always tried to keep this marriage in balance, some old, some 
young, a regular alternation, well spaced, just as it was handed down to 
us. But we've varied sometimes--for good reason." He looked at Ludmilla. 
"And adjusted it later." He looked again at far end of table, at Frank 
and All, on each side of Ludmilla. 

"Over years, as you can see from records, average age of husbands 
has been about forty, wives about thirty-f ive--and that age spread was 
just what our marriage started with, nearly a hundred years gone by, for 
Tillie was fifteen when she opted Black Jack and he had just turned 
twenty. Right now I find that average age of husbands is almost exactly 
forty, while average--" 

Mum said firmly, "Never mind arithmetic, Greg dear. Simply state 

it. " 

I was trying to think who Greg could possibly mean. True, I had 
been much away during past year, and if did get home, was often after 
everybody was asleep. But he was clearly talking about marriage and 
nobody ever proposes another wedding in our marriage without first giving 
everybody a long careful chance to look prospect over. You just didn't do 
it any other way! 

So I'm stupid. Greg stuttered and said, "I propose Wyoming Knott!" 

I said I was stupid. I understand machinery and machinery 
understands me. But didn't claim to know anything about people. When I 
get to be senior husband, if live that long, am going to do exactly what 
Grandpaw does with Mum: Let Sidris run it. Just same--Well, look, Wyoh 
joined Greg's church. I like Greg, love Greg. And admire him. But you 
could never feed theology of his church through a computer and get 
anything but null. Wyoh surely knew this, since she encountered it in 
adult years--truthfully, I had suspected that Wyoh's conversion was proof 
that she would do anything for our Cause. 

But Wyoh had recruited Greg even earlier. And had made most of 
trips out to new site, easier for her to get away than me or Prof. Oh, 
well. Was taken by surprise. Should not have been. 

Mimi said, "Greg, do you have reason to think that Wyoming would 
accept an opting from us?" 

"Yes . " 

"Very well. We all know Wyoming; I'm sure we've formed our opinions 
of her. I see no reason to discuss it... unless someone has something to 
say? Speak up." 

Was no surprise to Mum. But wouldn't be. Nor to anyone else, 
either, since Mum never let a talk-talk take place until she was sure of 
outcome . 

But wondered why Mum was sure of my opinion, so certain that she 
had not felt me out ahead of time? And sat there in a soggy quandary, 
knowing I should speak up, knowing I knew something terribly pertinent 
which nobody else knew or matter would never have gone this far. 

Something that didn't matter to me but would matter to Mum and all our 
women . 

Sat there, miserable coward, and said nothing. Mum said, "Very 
well. Let's call the roll. Ludmilla?" 

"Me? Why, I love Wyoh, everybody knows that. Sure!" 

"Lenore dear?" 

"Well, I may try to talk her into going back to being a brownie 
again; I think we set each other off. But that's her only fault, being 
blonder than I am. Da!" 


"Thumbs up. Wyoh is our kind of people." 


"I've something to say before I express my opinion, Mimi. ' 

"I don't think it's necessary, dear." 

"Nevertheless I'm going to haul it out in the open, just as Tillie 
always did according to our traditions. In this marriage every wife has 
carried her load, given children to the family. It may come as a surprise 
to some of you to learn that Wyoh has had eight children--" 

Certainly surprised Ali; his head jerked and jaw dropped. I stared 
at plate. Oh, Wyoh, Wyoh! How could I let this happen? Was going to have 
to speak up. 

And realized Anna was still speaking: "--so now she can have 
children of her own; the operation was successful. But she worries about 
possibility of another defective baby, unlikely as that is according to 
the head of the clinic in Hong Kong. So we'll just have to love her 
enough to make her quit fretting." 

"We will love her," Mum said serenely. "We do love her. Anna, are 
you ready to express opinion?" 

"Hardly necessary, is it? I went to Hong Kong with her, held her 
hand while her tubes were restored. I opt Wyoh." 

"In this family," Mum went on, "we have always felt that our 
husbands should be allowed a veto. Odd of us perhaps, hut Tillie started 
it and it has always worked well. Well, Grandpaw?" 

"Eh? What were you saying, my dear?" 

"We are opting Wyoming, Gospodin Grandpaw. Do you give consent?" 

"What? Why, of course, of course! Very nice little girl. Say, 
whatever became of that pretty little Afro, name something like that? She 
get mad at us?" 


"I proposed it." 

"Manuel? Do you forbid this?" 

"Me? Why, you know me, Mum." 

"I do. I sometimes wonder if you know you. Hans?" 

"What would happen if I said No?" 

"You'd lose some teeth, that's what," Lenore said promptly. "Hans 
votes Yes . " 

"Stop it, darlings," Mum said with soft reproof. "Opting is a 
serious matter. Hans, speak up." 

"Da. Yes. Ja. Oui . Si. High time we had a pretty blonde in this-- 

Ouch! " 

"Stop it, Lenore. Frank?" 

"Yes , Mum . " 

"All dear? Is it unanimous?" 

Lad blushed bright pink and couldn't talk. Nodded vigorously. 

Instead of appointing a husband and a wife to seek out selectee and 
propose opting for us, Mum sent Ludmilla and Anna to fetch Wyoh at once-- 
and turned out she was only as far away as Bon Ton. Nor was that only 
irregularity; instead of setting a date and arranging a wedding party, 
our children were called in, and twenty minutes later Greg had his Book 
open and we did the taking vows--and I finally got it through my confused 
head that was being done with breakneck speed because of my date to break 
my neck next day. 

Not that it could matter save as symbol of my family's love for me, 
since a bride spent her first night with her senior husband, and second 
night and third I was going to spend out in space. But did matter anyhow 
and when women started to cry during ceremony, I found self dripping 
tears right with them. 

Then I went to bed, alone in workshop, once Wyoh had kissed us and 
left on Grandpaw' s arm. Was terribly tired and last two days had been 
hard. Thought about exercises and decided was too late to matter; thought 
about calling Mike and asking him for news from Terra. Went to bed. 

Don't know how long had been asleep when realized was no longer 
asleep and somebody was in room. "Manuel?" came soft whisper in dark. 

"Huh? Wyoh, you aren't supposed to be here, dear." 

"I am indeed supposed to be here, my husband. Mum knows I'm here, 
so does Greg. And Grandpaw went right to sleep." 

"Oh. What time is?" 

"About four hundred. Please, dear, may I come to bed?" 

"What? Oh, certainly." Something I should remember. Oh, yes. 

"Mike ! " 

"Yes, Man?" he answered. 

"Switch off. Don't listen. If you want me, call me on Family 
phone . " 

"So Wyoh told me, Man. Congratulations!" 

Then her head was pillowed on my stump and I put right arm around 
her. "What are you crying about, Wyoh?" 

"I'm not crying! I'm just frightened silly that you won't come 

back! " 


Woke up scared silly in pitch darkness. "Manuel!" Didn't know which end 
was up. "Manuel!" it called again. "Wake up!" 

That brought me out some; was signal intended to trigger me. 
Recalled being stretched on a table in infirmary at Complex, staring up 
at a light and listening to a voice while a drug dripped into my veins. 
But was a hundred years ago, endless time of nightmares, unendurable 
pressure, pain. 

Knew now what no-end-is-up feeling was; had experienced before. 

Free fall. Was in space. 

What had gone wrong? Had Mike dropped a decimal point? Or had he 
given in to childish nature and played a joke, not realizing would kill? 
Then why, after all years of pain, was I alive? Or was I? Was this normal 
way for ghost to feel, just lonely, lost, nowhere? 

"Wake up, Manuel! Wake up, Manuel!" 

"Oh, shut up!" I snarled. "Button your filthy king-and-ace ! " 
Recording went on; I paid no attention. Where was that reeking light 
switch? No, doesn't take a century of pain to accelerate to Luna's escape 
speed at three gravities, merely feels so. Eighty-two seconds--but is one 
time when human nervous system feels every microsecond. Three gees is 
eighteen grim times as much as a Loonie ought to weigh. 

Then discovered those vacuum skulls had not put arm back on. For 
some silly reason they had taken it off when they stripped me to prepare 
me and I was loaded with enough don't-worry and let's-sleep pills not to 
protest. No huhu had they put it on again. But that drecklich switch was 
on my left and sleeve of p-suit was empty. 

Spent next ten years getting unstrapped with one hand, then a 
twenty-year sentence floating around in dark before managed to find my 
cradle again, figure out which was head end, and from that hint locate 
switch by touch. That compartment was not over two meters in any 
dimension. This turns out to be larger than Old Dome in free fall and 
total darkness. Found it. We had light. 

(And don't ask why that coffin did not have at least three lighting 
systems all working all time. Habit, probably. A lighting system implies 
a switch to control it, nyet? Thing was built in two days; should be 
thankful switch worked.) 

Once I had light, cubic shrank to true claustrophobic dimensions 
and ten percent smaller, and I took a look at Prof. 

Dead, apparently. Well, he had every excuse. Envied him but was now 
supposed to check his pulse and breathing and suchlike in case he had 

been unlucky and still had such troubles. And was again hampered and not 
just by being onearmed. Grain load had been dried and depressured as 
usual before loading but that cell was supposed to be pressured--oh, 
nothing fancy, just a tank with air in it. Our p-suits were supposed to 
handle needs such as life's breath for those two days. But even best p- 
suit is more comfortable in pressure than in vacuum and, anyhow, I was 
supposed to be able to get at my patient. 

Could not. Didn't need to open helmet to know this steel can had 
not stayed gas tight, knew at once, naturally, from way p-suit felt. Oh, 
drugs I had for Prof, heart stimulants and so forth, were in field 
ampules; could jab them through his suit. But how to check heart and 
breathing? His suit was cheapest sort, sold for Loonie who rarely Leaves 
warren; had no readouts. 

His mouth hung open and eyes stared. A deader, I decided. No need 
to ex Prof beyond that old limen; had eliminated himself. Tried to see 
pulse on throat; his helmet was in way. 

They had provided a program clock which was mighty kind of them. 
Showed I had been out forty-four-plus hours, all to plan, and in three 
hours we should receive horrible booting to place us in parking orbit 
around Terra. Then, after two circums, call it three more hours, we 
should start injection into landing program--if Poona Ground Control 
didn't change its feeble mind and leave us in orbit. Reminded self that 
was unlikely; grain is not left in vacuum longer than necessary. Has 
tendency to become puffed wheat or popped corn, which not only lowers 
value but can split those thin canisters like a melon. Wouldn't that be 
sweet? Why had they packed us in with grain? Why not just a load of rock 
that doesn't mind vacuum? 

Had time to think about that and to become very thirsty. Took 
nipple for half a mouthful, no more, because certainly did not want to 
take six gees with a full bladder. (Need not have worried; was equipped 
with catheter. But did not know.) 

When time got short I decided couldn't hurt Prof to give him a jolt 
of drug that was supposed to take him through heavy acceleration; then, 
after in parking orbit, give him heart stimulant--since didn't seem as if 
anything could hurt him. 

Gave him first drug, then spent rest of minutes struggling back 
into straps, one-handed. Was sorry I didn't know name of my helpful 
friend; could have cursed him better. 

Ten gees gets you into parking orbit around Terra in a mere 3 .26 x 
10^7 microseconds; merely seems longer, ten gravities being sixty times 
what a fragile sack of protoplasm should be asked to endure. Call it 
thirty-three seconds. My truthful word, I suspect my ancestress in Salem 
spent a worse half minute day they made her dance. 

Gave Prof heart stimulant, then spent three hours trying to decide 
whether to drug self as well as Prof for landing sequence. Decided 
against. All drug had done for me at catapulting had been to swap a 
minute and a half of misery and two days of boredom for a century of 
terrible dreams — and besides, if those last minutes were going to be my 
very last, I decided to experience them. Bad as they would be, they were 
my very own and I would not give them up. 

They were bad. Six gees did not feel better than ten; felt worse. 
Four gees no relief. Then we were kicked harder. Then suddenly, just for 
seconds, in free fall again. Then came splash which was not "gentle" and 
which we took on straps, not pads, as we went in headfirst. Also, don't 

think Mike realized that, after diving in hard, we would then surface and 
splash hard again before we damped down into floating. Earthworms call it 
"floating" but is nothing like floating in free fall; you do it at one 
gee, six times what is decent, and odd side motions tacked on. Very odd 
motions--Mike had assured us that solar weather was good, no radiation 
danger inside that Iron Maiden. But he had not been so interested in 
Earthside Indian Ocean weather; prediction was acceptable for landing 
barges and suppose he felt that was good enough--and I would have thought 
so, too. 

Stomach was supposed to be empty. But I filled helmet with sourest, 
nastiest fluid you would ever go a long way to avoid. Then we turned 
completely over and I got it in hair and eyes and some in nose. This is 
thing earthworms call "seasickness" and is one of many horrors they take 
for granted. 

Won't go into long period during which we were towed into port. Let 
it stand that, in addition to seasickness, my air bottles were playing 
out. They were rated for twelve hours, plenty for a fifty-hour orbit most 
of which I was unconscious and none involving heavy exercise, but not 
quite enough with some hours of towing added. By time barge finally held 
still I was almost too dopy to care about trying to break out. 

Except for one fact--We were picked up, I think, and tumbled a bit, 
then brought to rest with me upside down. This is a no-good position at 
best under one gravity; simply impossible when supposed to a) unstrap 
self, b) get out of suit-shaped cavity, c) get loose a sledgehammer 
fastened with butterfly nuts to bulkhead, d) smash same against 
breakaways guarding escape hatch, e) batter way out, and f) finally, drag 
an old man in a p-suit out after you. 

Didn't finish step a); passed out head downwards. 

Lucky this was emergency-last-resort routine. Stu LaJoie had been 
notified before we left; news services had been warned shortly before we 
landed. I woke up with people leaning over me, passed out again, woke up 
second time in hospital bed, flat on back with heavy feeling in chest-- 
was heavy and weak all over--but not ill, just tired, bruised, hungry, 
thirsty, languid. Was a transparent plastic tent over bed which accounted 
for fact I was having no trouble breathing. 

At once was closed in on from both sides, a tiny Hindu nurse with 
big eyes on one side, Stuart LaJoie on other. He grinned at me, "Hi, 
cobber! How do you feel?" 

"Uh... I'm right. But oh bloody! What a way to travel!" 

"Prof says it's the only way. What a tough old boy he is." 

"Hold it. Prof said? Prof is dead." 

"Not at all. Not in good shape — we've got him in a pneumatic bed 
with a round-the-clock watch and more instruments wired into him than you 
would believe. But he's alive and will be able to do his job. But, truly, 
he didn't mind the trip; he never knew about it, so he says. Went to 
sleep in one hospital, woke up in another. I thought he was wrong when he 
refused to let me wangle it to send a ship but he was not--the publicity 
has been tremendous ! " 

I said slowly, "You say Prof 'refused' to let you send a ship?" 

"I should say 'Chairman Selene' refused. Didn't you see the 
dispatches, Mannie?" 

"No." Too late to fight over it. "But last few days have been 

busy . " 

"A dinkum word! Here, too--don't recall when last I dossed." 

"You sound like a Loonie." 

"I am a Loonie, Mannie, don't ever doubt it. But the sister is 
looking daggers at me." Stu picked her up, turned her around. I decided 
he wasn't all Loonie yet. But nurse didn't resent. "Go play somewhere 
else, dear, and I'll give your patient back to you--still warm--in a few 
minutes." He shut a door on her and came back to bed. "But Adam was 
right; this way was not only wonderful publicity but safer." 

"Publicity, I suppose. But 'safer'? Let's not talk about!" 

"Safer, my old. You weren't shot at. Yet they had two hours in 
which they knew right where you were, a big fat target. They couldn't 
make up their minds what to do; they haven't formed a policy yet. They 
didn't even dare not bring you down on schedule; the news was full of it, 
I had stories slanted and waiting. Now they don't dare touch you, you're 
popular heroes. Whereas if I had waited to charter a ship and fetch 
you... Well, I don't know. We probably would have been ordered into 
parking orbit; then you two--and myself, perhaps--would have been taken 
off under arrest. No skipper is going to risk missiles no matter how much 
he's paid. The proof of the pudding, cobber. But let me brief you. You're 
both citizens of The People's Directorate of Chad, best I could do on 
short notice. Also, Chad has recognized Luna. I had to buy one prime 
minister, two generals, some tribal chiefs and a minister of finance-- 
cheap for such a hurry-up job. I haven't been able to get you diplomatic 
immunity but I hope to, before you leave hospital. At present they 
haven't even dared arrest you; they can't figure out what you've done. 
They have guards outside but simply for your ' protection ' --and a good 
thing, or you would have reporters nine deep shoving microphones into 
your face . " 

"Just what have we done?--that they know about, I mean. Illegal 
immigration? " 

"Not even that, Mannie. You never were a consignee and you have 
derivative PanAfrican citizenship through one of your grandfathers, no 
huhu . In Professor de la Paz ' s case we dug up proof that he had been 
granted naturalized Chad citizenship forty years back, waited for the ink 
to dry, and used it. You're not even illegally entered here in India. Not 
only did they bring you down themselves, knowing that you were in that 
barge, but also a control officer very kindly and fairly cheaply stamped 
your virgin passports. In addition to that, Prof's exile has no legal 
existence as the government that proscribed him no longer exists and a 
competent court has taken notice--that was more expensive." 

Nurse came back in, indignant as a mother cat. "Lord Stuart you 
must let my patient rest ! " 

"At once, ma chere." 

"You're 'Lord Stuart'?" 

"Should be 'Comte. ' Or I can lay a dubious claim to being the 
Macgregor. The blue-blood bit helps; these people haven't been happy 
since they took their royalty away from them." 

As he left he patted her rump. Instead of screaming, she wiggled 
it. Was smiling as she came over to me. Stu was going to have to watch 
that stuff when he went back to Luna. If did. 

She asked how I felt. Told her I was right, just hungry. "Sister, 
did you see some prosthetic arms in our luggage?" 

She had and I felt better with number-six in place. Had selected it 
and number-two and social arm as enough for trip. Number-two was 
presumably still in Complex; I hoped somebody was taking care of it. But 

number-six is most all-around useful arm; with it and social one I'd be 
okay . 

Two days later we left for Agra to present credentials to Federated 
Nations. I was in bad shape and not just high gee; could do well enough 
in a wheel chair and could even walk a little although did not in public. 
What I had was a sore throat that missed pneumonia only through drugs, 
traveler's trots, skin disease on hands and spreading to feet--just like 
my other trips to that disease-ridden hole. Terra. We Loonies don't know 
how lucky we are, living in a place that has tightest of quarantines, 
almost no vermin and what we have controlled by vacuum anytime necessary. 
Or unlucky, since we have almost no immunities if turns out we need them. 
Still, wouldn't swap; never heard word "venereal" until first went 
Earthside and had thought "common cold" was state of ice miner's feet. 

And wasn't cheerful for other reason. Stu had fetched us a message 
from Adam Selene; buried in it, concealed even from Stir, was news that 
chances had dropped to worse than one in a hundred. Wondered what point 
in risking crazy trip if made odds worse? Did Mike really know what 
chances were? Couldn't see any way he could compute them no matter how 
many facts he had. 

But Prof didn't seem worried. He talked to platoons of reporters, 
smiled at endless pictures, gave out statements, telling world he placed 
great confidence in Federated Nations and was sure our just claims would 
be recognized and that he wanted to thank "Friends of Free Luna" for 
wonderful help in bringing true story of our small but sturdy nation 
before good people of Terra--F. of F. L. being Stu, a professional public 
opinion firm, several thousand chronic petition signers, and a great 
stack of Hong Kong dollars. 

I had picture taken, too, and tried to smile, but dodged questions 
by pointing to throat and croaking. 

In Agra we were lodged in a lavish suite in hotel that had once 
been palace of a maharajah (and still belonged to him, even though India 
is supposed to be socialist) and interviews and picture-taking went on— 
hardly dared get out of wheel chair even to visit W. C. as was under 
orders from Prof never to be photographed vertically. He was always 
either in bed or in a stretcher-bed baths, bedpans, everything— not only 
because safer, considering age, and easier for any Loonie, but also for 
pictures. His dimples and wonderful, gentle, persuasive personality were 
displayed in hundreds of millions of video screens, endless news 
pictures . 

But his personality did not get us anywhere in Agra. Prof was 
carried to office of President of Grand Assembly, me being pushed 
alongside, and there he attempted to present his credentials as 
Ambassador to F. N. and prospective Senator for Luna— was referred to 
Secretary General and at his offices we were granted ten minutes with 
assistant secretary who sucked teeth and said he could accept our 
credentials "without prejudice and without implied commitment." They were 
referred to Credentials Committee— who sat on them. 

I got fidgety. Prof read Keats. Grain barges continued to arrive at 
Bombay . 

In a way was not sorry about latter. When we flew from Bombay to 
Agra we got up before dawn and were taken out to field as city was 
waking. Every Loonie has his hole, whether luxury of a longestablished 
home like Davis Tunnels or rock still raw from drill; cubic is no problem 
and can't be for centuries. 

Bombay was bee-swarms of people. Are over million (was told) who 
have no home but some piece of pavement. A family might claim right (and 
hand down by will, generation after generation) to sleep on a piece two 
meters long and one wide at a described location in front of a shop. 
Entire family sleeps on that space, meaning mother, father, kids, maybe a 
grandmother. Would not have believed if had not seen. At dawn in Bombay 
roadways, side pavements, even bridges are covered with tight carpet of 
human bodies. What do they do? Where do they work? How do they eat? (Did 
not look as if they did. Could count ribs.) 

If I hadn't believed simple arithmetic that you can't ship stuff 
downhill forever without shipping replacement back, would have tossed in 
cards. But... tanstanfl. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," in 
Bombay or in Luna. 

At last we were given appointment with an "Investigating 
Committee." Not what Prof had asked for. He had requested public hearing 
before Senate, complete with video cameras. Only camera at this session 
was its "in-camera" nature; was closed. Not too closed, I had little 
recorder. But no video. And took Prof two minutes to discover that 
committee was actually vips of Lunar Authority or their tame dogs. 

Nevertheless was chance to talk and Prof treated them as if they 
had power to recognize Luna's independence and willingness to do so. 

While they treated us as a cross between naughty children and criminals 
up for sentencing. 

Prof was allowed to make opening statement. With decorations 
trimmed away was assertion that Luna was de-facto a sovereign state, with 
an unopposed government in being, a civil condition of peace and order, a 
provisional president and cabinet carrying on necessary functions but 
anxious to return to private life as soon as Congress completed writing a 
constitution--and that we were here to ask that these facts be recognized 
de-jure and that Luna be allowed to take her rightful place in councils 
of mankind as a member of Federated Nations. 

What Prof told them bore a speaking acquaintance with truth and 
they were not where they could spot discrepancies. Our "provisional 
president" was a computer, and "cabinet" was Wyoh, Finn, Comrade Clayton, 
and Terence Sheehan, editor of Pravda, plus Wolfgang Korsakov, board 
chairman of LuNoHoCo and a director of Bank of Hong Kong in Luna. But 
Wyoh was only person now in Luna who knew that "Adam Selene" was false 
face for a computer. She had been terribly nervous at being left to hold 
fort alone. 

As it was, Adam's "oddity" in never being seen save over video was 
always an embarrassment. We had done our best to turn it into a "security 
necessity" by opening offices for him in cubic of Authority's Luna City 
office and then exploding a small bomb. After this "assassination 
attempt" comrades who had been most fretful about Adam's failure to stir 
around became loudest in demands that Adam must not take any chances-- 
this being helped by editorials. 

But I wondered while Prof was talking what these pompous chooms 
would think if they knew that our "president" was a collection of 
hardware owned by Authority? 

But they just sat staring with chill disapproval, unmoved by Prof's 
rhetoric--probably best performance of his life considering he delivered 
it flat on back, speaking into a microphone without notes, and hardly 
able to see his audience. 

Then they started in on us. Gentleman member from Argentina--never 
given their names; we weren't socially acceptable--this Argentino 
objected to phrase "former Warden" in Prof's speech; that designation had 
been obsolete half a century; he insisted that it be struck out and 
proper title inserted: "Protector of the Lunar Colonies by Appointment of 
the Lunar Authority." Any other wording offended dignity of Lunar 
Authority . 

Prof asked to comment; "Honorable Chairman" permitted it. Prof said 
mildly that he accepted change since Authority was free to designate its 
servants in any fashion it pleased and was no intention to offend dignity 
of any agency of Federated Nations... but in view of functions of this 
of fice--former functions of this former of f ice--citizens of Luna Free 
State would probably go on thinking of it by traditional name. 

That made about six of them try to talk at once. Somebody objected 
to use of word "Luna" and still more to "Luna Free State"--it was "the 
Moon," Earth's Moon, a satellite of Earth and property of Federated 
Nations, just as Antarctica was--and these proceedings were a farce. 

Was inclined to agree with last point. Chairman asked gentleman 
member from North America to please be in order and to address his 
remarks through Chair. Did Chair understand from witness's last remark 
that this alleged de-facto regime intended to interfere with consignee 

Prof fielded that and tossed it back. "Honorable Chairman, I myself 
was a consignee, now Luna is my beloved home. My colleague, the Honorable 
the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Colonel O'Kelly Davis"--myself ! -- 
"is Luna born, and proud of his descent from four transported 
grandparents. Luna has grown strong on your outcasts. Give us your poor, 
your wretched; we welcome them. Luna has room for them, nearly forty 
million square kilometers, an area greater than all Africa--and almost 
totally empty. More than that, since by our method of living we occupy 
not 'area' but 'cubic' the mind cannot imagine the day when Luna would 
refuse another shipload of weary homeless." 

Chairman said, "The witness is admonished to refrain from making 
speeches. The Chair takes it that your oratory means that the group you 
represent agrees to accept prisoners as before." 

"No, sir . " 

"What? Explain yourself." 

"Once an immigrant sets foot on Luna today he is a free man, no 
matter what his previous condition, free to go where he listeth." 

"So? Then what's to keep a consignee from walking across the field, 
climbing into another ship, and returning here? I admit that I am puzzled 
at your apparent willingness to accept them... but we do not want them. 

It is our humane way of getting rid of incorrigibles who would otherwise 
have to be executed." 

(Could have told him several things that would stop what he 
pictured; he had obviously never been to Luna. As for "incorrigibles," if 
really are, Luna eliminates such faster than Terra ever did. Back when I 
was very young, they sent us a gangster lord, from Los Angeles I believe; 
he arrived with squad of stooges, his bodyguards, and was cockily ready 
to take over Luna, as was rumored to have taken over a prison somewhere 
Earthside . 

(None lasted two weeks. Gangster boss didn't make it to barracks; 
hadn't listened when told how to wear a p-suit.) 

"There is nothing to keep him from going home so far as we are 
concerned, sir, " Prof answered, "although your police here on Terra might 
cause him to think. But I've never heard of a consignee arriving with 
funds enough to buy a ticket home. Is this truly an issue? The ships are 
yours; Luna has no ships--and let me add that we are sorry that the ship 
scheduled for Luna this month was canceled. I am not complaining that it 
forced on my colleague and myself--Prof stopped to smile--a most informal 
method of travel. I simply hope that this does not represent policy. Luna 
has no quarrel with you; your ships are welcome, your trade is welcome, 
we are at peace and wish to stay so. Please note that all scheduled grain 
shipments have come through on time." 

(Prof did always have gift for changing subject.) 

They fiddled with minor matters then. Nosy from North America 
wanted to know what had really happened to "the Ward--" He stopped 
himself. "The Protector. Senator Hobart" Prof answered that he had 
suffered a stroke (a "coup" is a "stroke") and was no longer able to 
carry out his duties--but was in good health otherwise and receiving 
constant medical care. Prof added thoughtfully that he suspected that the 
old gentleman had been failing for some time, in view of his 
indiscretions this past year... especially his many invasions of rights 
of free citizens, including ones who were not and never had been 
consignees . 

Story was not hard to swallow. When those busy scientists managed 
to break news of our coup, they had reported Warden as dead... whereas 
Mike had kept him alive and on job by impersonating him. When Authority 
Earthside demanded a report from Warden on this wild rumor, Mike had 
consulted Prof, then had accepted call and given a convincing imitation 
of senility, managing to deny, confirm, and confuse every detail. Our 
announcements followed, and thereafter Warden was no longer available 
even in his computer alter ego. Three days later we declared 
independence . 

This North American wanted to know what reason they had to believe 
that one word of this was true? Prof smiled most saintly smile and made 
effort to spread thin hands before letting them fall to coverlet. "The 
gentleman member from North America is urged to go to Luna, visit Senator 
Hobart's sickbed, and see for himself. Indeed all Terran citizens are 
invited to visit Luna at any time, see anything. We wish to be friends, 
we are at peace, we have nothing to hide. My only regret is that my 
country is unable to furnish transportation; for that we must turn to 
you . " 

Chinee member looked at Prof thoughtfully. He had not said a word 
but missed nothing. 

Chairman recessed hearing until fifteen hundred. They gave us a 
retiring room and sent in lunch. I wanted to talk but Prof shook head, 
glanced around room, tapped ear. So I shut up. Prof napped then and I 
leveled out my wheel chair and joined him; on Terra we both slept all we 
could. Helped. Not enough. 

They didn't wheel us back in until sixteen hundred; committee was 
already sitting. Chairman then broke own rule against speeches and made a 
long one more-in-sorrow-than-anger . 

Started by reminding us that Luna Authority was a nonpolitical 
trusteeship charged with solemn duty of insuring that Earth's satellite 
the Moon--Luna, as some called it--was never used for military purposes. 
He told us that Authority had guarded this sacred trust more than a 

century, while governments fell and new governments rose, alliances 
shifted and shifted again--indeed. Authority was older than Federated 
Nations, deriving original charter from an older international body, and 
so well had it kept that trust that it had lasted through wars and 
turmoils and realignments. 

(This is news? But you see what he was building towards.) 

"The Lunar Authority cannot surrender its trust, " he told us 
solemnly. "However, there appears to be no insuperable obstacle to the 
Lunar colonists, if they show political maturity, enjoying a degree of 
autonomy. This can be taken under advisement. Much depends on your 
behavior. The behavior, I should say, of all you colonists. There have 
been riots and destruction of property; this must not be." 

I waited for him to mention ninety dead Goons; he never did. I will 
never make a statesman; I don't have high-level approach. 

"Destroyed property must be paid for," he went on. "Commitments 
must be met. If this body you call a Congress can guarantee such things, 
it appears to this committee that this so-called Congress could in time 
be considered an agency of the Authority for many internal matters. 

Indeed it is conceivable that a stable local government might, in time, 
assume many duties now failing on the Protector and even be allowed a 
delegate, non-voting, in the Grand Assembly. But such recognition would 
have to be earned. 

"But one thing must be made clear. Earth's major satellite, the 
Moon, is by nature's law forever the joint property of all the peoples of 
Earth. It does not belong to that handful who by accident of history 
happen to live there. The sacred trust laid upon the Lunar Authority is 
and forever must be the supreme law of Earth's Moon." 

("--accident of history," huh? I expected Prof to shove it down his 
throat. I thought he would say--No, never did know what Prof would say. 
Here's what he did say) : Prof waited through several seconds of silence, 
then said, "Honorable Chairman, who is to be exiled this time?" 

"What did you say?" 

"Have you decided which one of you is to go into exile? Your Deputy 
Warden won't take the job"--this was true; he preferred to stay alive. 

"He is functioning now only because we have asked him to. If you persist 
in believing that we are not independent, then you must be planning to 
send up a new warden." 

"Protector ! " 

"Warden. Let us not mince words. Though if we knew who he is to be, 
we might be happy to call him 'Ambassador. ' We might be able to work with 
him, it might not be necessary to send with him armed hoodlums ... to rape 
and murder our women!" 

"Order! Order! The witness will come to order!" 

"It is not I who was not in order. Honorable Chairman. Rape it was 
and murder most foul. But that is history and now we must look to the 
future. Whom are you going to exile?" 

Prof struggled to raise self on elbow and I was suddenly alert; was 
a cue. "For you all know, sir, that it is a one-way trip. I was born 
here. You can see what effort it is for me to return even temporarily to 
the planet which has disinherited me. We are outcasts of Earth who--" 

He collapsed. Was up out of my chair--and collapsed myself, trying 
to reach him. 

Was not all play-acting even though I answered a cue. Is terrible 
strain on heart to get up suddenly on Terra; thick field grabbed and 
smashed me to floor. 


Neither of us was hurt and it made juicy news breaks, for I put recording 
in Stu's hands and he turned it over to his hired men. Nor were all 
headlines against us; Stu had recording cut and edited and slanted. 
PAGE 8. 

Not all were good; nearest to a favorable story in India was 
editorial in New India Times inquiring whether Authority was risking 
bread of masses in failing to come to terms with Lunar insurgents. Was 
suggested that concessions could be made if would insure increased grain 
deliveries. Was filled with inflated statistics; Luna did not feed "a 
hundred million Hindus " --unless you chose to think of our grain as making 
difference between malnutrition and starvation. 

On other hand biggest New York paper opined that Authority had made 
mistake in treating with us at all, since only thing convicts understood 
was taste of lash--troops should land, set us in order, hang guilty, 
leave forces to keep order. 

Was a quick mutiny, quickly subdued, in Peace Dragoons regiment 
from which our late oppressors had come, one started by rumor that they 
were to be shipped to Moon. Mutiny not hushed up perfectly; Stu hired 
good men. 

Next morning a message reached us inquiring if Professor de la Paz 
was well enough to resume discussions? We went, and committee supplied 
doctor and nurse to watch over Prof. But this time we were searched--and 
a recorder removed from my pouch. 

I surrendered it without much fuss; was Japanese job supplied by 
Stu--to be surrendered. Number-six arm has recess intended for a power 
pack but near enough size of my mini-recorder. Didn't need power that 
day--and most people, even hardened police officers, dislike to touch a 
prosthetic . 

Everything discussed day before was ignored. . . except that chairman 
started session by scolding us for "breaking security of a closed 
meeting . " 

Prof replied that it had not been closed so far as we were 
concerned and that we would welcome newsmen, video cameras, a gallery, 
anyone, as Luna Free State had nothing to hide. 

Chairman replied stiffly that so-called Free State did not control 
these hearings; these sessions were closed, not to be discussed outside 
this room, and that it was so ordered. 

Prof looked at me. "Will you help me. Colonel?" I touched controls 
of chair, scooted around, was shoving his stretcher wagon with my chair 
toward door before chairman realized bluff had been called. Prof allowed 

himself to be persuaded to stay without promising anything. Hard to 
coerce a man who faints if he gets overexcited. 

Chairman said that there had been many irrelevancies yesterday and 
matters discussed best left undiscussed--and that he would permit no 
digressions today. He looked at Argentino, then at North American. 

He went on: "Sovereignty is an abstract concept, one that has been 
redefined many times as mankind has learned to live in peace. We need not 
discuss it. The real question, Professor--or even Ambassador de-facto, if 
you like; we shan't quibble--the real question is this: Are you prepared 
to guarantee that the Lunar Colonies will keep their commitments?" 

"What commitments, sir?" 

"All commitments, but I have in mind specifically your commitments 
concerning grain shipments." 

"I know of no such commitments, sir," Prof answered with innocence. 

Chairman's hand tightened on gavel. But he answered quietly, "Come, 
sir, there is no need to spar over words. I refer to the quota of grain 
shipments--and to the increased quota, a matter of thirteen percent, for 
this new fiscal year. Do we have assurance that you will honor those 
commitments? This is a minimum basis for discussion, else these talks can 
go no further . " 

"Then I am sorry to say, sir, that it would appear that our talks 
must cease." 

"You're not being serious." 

"Quite serious, sir. The sovereignty of Free Luna is not the 
abstract matter you seem to feel it is. These commitments you speak of 
were the Authority contracting with itself. My country is not bound by 
such. Any commitments from the sovereign nation I have the honor to 
represent are still to be negotiated. " 

"Rabble!" growled North American. "I told you you were being too 
soft on them. Jailbirds. Thieves and whores. They don't understand decent 
treatment . " 

"Order ! " 

"Just remember, I told you. If I had them in Colorado, we would 
teach them a thing or two; we know how to handle their sort." 

"The gentleman member will please be in order." 

"I'm afraid," said Hindu member--Parsee in fact, but committeeman 
from India--"I'm afraid I must agree in essence with the gentleman member 
from the North American Directorate. India cannot accept the concept that 
the grain commitments are mere scraps of paper. Decent people do not play 
politics with hunger." 

"And besides," the Argentino put in, "they breed like animals. 

Pigs ! " 

(Prof made me take a tranquilizing drug before that session. Had 
insisted on seeing me take it.) 

Prof said quietly, "Honorable Chairman, may I have consent to 
amplify my meaning before we conclude, perhaps too hastily, that these 
talks must be abandoned?" 

"Proceed . " 

"Unanimous consent? Free of interruption?" 

Chairman looked around. "Consent is unanimous," he stated, "and the 
gentlemen members are placed on notice that I will invoke special rule 
fourteen at the next outburst. The sergeant-at-arms is directed to note 
this and act. The witness will proceed." 

"I will be brief. Honorable Chairman." Prof said something in 
Spanish; all I caught was "Senor." Argentina turned dark but did not 
answer. Prof went on, "I must first answer the gentleman member from 
North America on a matter of personal privilege since he has impugned my 
fellow countrymen. I for one have seen the inside of more than one jail; 

I accept the title--nay, I glory in the title of 'jailbird. ' We citizens 
of Luna are jailbirds and descendants of jailbirds. But Luna herself is a 
stern schoolmistress; those who have lived through her harsh lessons have 
no cause to feel ashamed. In Luna City a man may leave purse unguarded or 
home unlocked and feel no fear. . . I wonder if this is true in Denver? As 
may be, I have no wish to visit Colorado to learn a thing or two; I am 
satisfied with what Mother Luna has taught me. And rabble we may be, but 
we are now a rabble in arms . 

"To the gentleman member from India let me say that we do not 'play 
politics with hunger. ' What we ask is an open discussion of facts of 
nature unbound by political assumptions false to fact. If we can hold 
this discussion, I can promise to show a way in which Luna can continue 
grain shipments and expand them enormously... to the great benefit of 
India . " 

Both Chinee and Indian looked alert. Indian started to speak, 
checked himself, then said, "Honorable Chairman, will the Chair ask the 
witness to explain what he means?" 

"The witness is invited to amplify." 

"Honorable Chairman, gentlemen members, there is indeed a way for 
Luna to expand by tenfold or even a hundred her shipments to our hungry 
millions. The fact that grain barges continued to arrive on schedule 
during our time of trouble and are still arriving today is proof that our 
intentions are friendly. But you do not get milk by beating the cow. 
Discussions of how to augment our shipments must be based on the facts of 
nature, not on the false assumption that we are slaves, bound by a work 
quota we never made. So which shall it be? Will you persist in believing 
that we are slaves, indentured to an Authority other than ourselves? Or 
will you acknowledge that we are free, negotiate with us, and learn how 
we can help you?" 

Chairman said, "In other words you ask us to buy a pig in a poke. 
You demand that we legalize your outlaw status... then you will talk 
about fantastic claims that you can increase grain shipments ten- or a 
hundredfold. What you claim is impossible; I am expert in Lunar 
economics. And what you ask is impossible; takes the Grand Assembly to 
admit a new nation." 

Then place it before the Grand Assembly. Once seated as sovereign 
equals, we will discuss how to increase shipments and negotiate terms. 
Honorable Chairman, we grow the grain, we own it. We can grow far more. 
But not as slaves. Luna's sovereign freedom must first be recognized." 

"Impossible and you know it. The Lunar Authority cannot abdicate 
its sacred responsibility." 

Prof sighed. "It appears to be an impasse. I can only suggest that 
these hearings be recessed while we all take thought. Today our barges 
are arriving... but the moment that I am forced to notify my government 
that I have failed... they... will... stop!" 

Prof's head sank back on pillow as if it had been too much for him- 
-as may have been. I was doing well enough but was young and had had 
practice in how to visit Terra and stay alive. A Loonie his age should 
not risk it. After minor foofooraw which Prof ignored they loaded us into 

a lorry and scooted us back to hotel. Once under way I said, "Prof, what 
was it you said to Senor Jellybelly that raised blood pressure?" 

He chuckled. "Comrade Stuart's investigations of these gentlemen 
turn up remarkable facts. I asked who owned a certain brothel off Calle 
Florida in B. A. these days and did it now have a star redhead?" 

"Why? You used to patronize it?" Tried to imagine Prof in such! 

"Never. It has been forty years since I was last in Buenos Aires. 

He owns that establishment, Manuel, through a dummy, and his wife, a 
beauty with Titian hair, once worked in it." 

Was sorry had asked. "Wasn't that a foul blow? And undiplomatic?" 

But Prof closed eyes and did not answer. 

He was recovered enough to spend an hour at a reception for newsmen 
that night, with white hair framed against a purple pillow and thin body 
decked out in embroidered pajamas. Looked like vip corpse at an important 
funeral, except for eyes and dimples. I looked mighty vip too, in black 
and gold uniform which Stu claimed was Lunar diplomatic uniform of my 
rank. Could have been, if Lana had had such things--did not or I would 
have known. I prefer a p-suit; collar was tight. Nor did I ever find out 
what decorations on it meant. ~A reporter asked me about one, based on 
Luna at crescent as seen from Terra; told him it was a prize for 
spelling. Stu was in earshot and said, "The Colonel is modest. That 
decoration is of the same rank as the Victoria Cross and in his case was 
awarded for an act of gallantry on the glorious, tragic day of--" 

He led him away, still talking. Stu could lie standing up almost as 
well as Prof. Me, I have to think out a lie ahead of time. 

India newspapers and casts were rough that night; "threat" to stop 
grain shipments made them froth. Gentlest proposal was to clean out Luna, 
exterminate us "criminal troglodytes" and replace us with "honest Hindu 
peasants" who understood sacredness of life and would ship grain and more 
grain . 

Prof picked that night to talk and give handouts about Luna's 
inability to continue shipments, and why--and Stu's organization spread 
release throughout Terra. Some reporters took time to dig out sense of 
figures and tackled Prof on glaring discrepancy: "Professor de la Paz, 
here you say that grain shipments will dwindle away through failure of 
natural resources and that by 2082 Luna won't even be able to feed its 
own people. Yet earlier today you told the Lunar Authority that you could 
increase shipments a dozen times or more." 

Prof said sweetly, "That committee is the Lunar Authority?" 

"Well... it's an open secret." 

"So it is, sir, but they have maintained the fiction of being an 
impartial investigating committee of the Grand Assembly. Don't you think 
they should disqualify themselves? So that we could receive a fair 
hearing? " 

"Uh... it's not my place to say. Professor. Let's get back to my 
question. How do you reconcile the two?" 

"I'm interested in why it's not your place to say, sir. Isn't it 
the concern of every citizen of Terra to help avoid a situation which 
will produce war between Terra and her neighbor?" 

"'War'? What in the world makes you speak of 'war, ' Professor?" 

"Where else can it end, sir? If the Lunar Authority persists in its 
intransigence? We cannot accede to their demands; those figures show why. 
If they will not see this, then they will attempt to subdue us by 
force... and we will fight back. Like cornered rats— for cornered we are. 

unable to retreat, unable to surrender. We do not choose war; we wish to 
live in peace with our neighbor planet--in peace and peacefully trade. 

But the choice is not ours. We are small, you are gigantic. I predict 
that the next move will be for the Lunar Authority to attempt to subdue 
Luna by force. This 'peace-keeping' agency will start the first 
interplanetary war." 

Journalist frowned. "Aren't you overstating it? Let's assume the 
Authority--or the Grand Assembly, as the Authority hasn't any warships of 
its own — let's suppose the nations of Earth decide to displace your, uh, 
'government.' You might fight, on Luna--I suppose you would. But that 
hardly constitutes interplanetary war. As you pointed out, Luna has no 
ships. To put it bluntly, you can't reach us." 

I had chair close by Prof's stretcher, listening. He turned to me. 
"Tell them. Colonel." 

I parroted it. Prof and Mike had worked out stock situation. I had 
memorized and was ready with answers. I said, "Do you gentlemen remember 
the Pathfinder? How she came plunging in, out of control?" 

They remembered. Nobody forgets greatest disaster of early days of 
space flight when unlucky Pathfinder hit a Belgian village. 

"We have no ships," I went on, "but would be possible to throw 
those bargeloads of grain... instead of delivering them parking orbit." 

Next day this evoked a headline: LOONIES THREATEN TO THROW RICE. At 
moment it produced awkward silence. 

Finally journalist said, "Nevertheless I would like to know how you 
reconcile your two statements--no more grain after 2082 ... and ten or a 
hundred times as much." 

"There is no conflict," Prof answered. "They are based on different 
sets of circumstances . The figures you have been looking at show the 
present circumstances . . . and the disaster they will produce in only a few 
years through drainage of Luna's natural resources--disaster which these 
Authority bureaucrats--or should I say 'authoritarian bureaucrats? ' 
would avert by telling us to stand in the corner like naughty children!" 

Prof paused for labored breathing, went on: "The circumstances 
under which we can continue, or greatly increase, our grain shipments are 
the obvious corollary of the first. As an old teacher I can hardly 
refrain from classroom habits; the corollary should be left as an 
exercise for the student. Will someone attempt it?" 

Was uncomfortable silence, then a little man with strange accent 
said slowly, "It sound to me as if you talk about way to replenish 
natural resource." 

"Capital! Excellent!" Prof flashed dimples. "You, sir, will have a 
gold star on your term report! To make grain requires water and plant 
f oods--phosphates , other things, ask the experts. Send these things to 
us; we'll send them back as wholesome grain. Put down a hose in the 
limitless Indian Ocean. Line up those millions of cattle here in India; 
collect their end product and ship it to us. Collect your own night soil- 
-don't bother to sterilize it; we've learned to do such things cheaply 
and easily. Send us briny sea water, rotten fish, dead animals, city 
sewage, cow manure, offal of any sort--and we will send it back, tonne 
for tonne as golden grain. Send ten times as much, we'll send back ten 
times as much grain. Send us your poor, your dispossessed, send them by 
thousands and hundreds of thousands; we'll teach them swift, efficient 
Lunar methods of tunnel farming and ship you back unbelievable tonnage. 

Gentlemen, Luna is one enormous fallow farm, four thousand million 
hectares, waiting to be plowed!" 

That startled them. Then someone said slowly, "But what do you get 
out of it? Luna, I mean." 

Prof shrugged. "Money. In the form of trade goods. There are many 
things you make cheaply which are dear in Luna. Drugs. Tools. Book films. 
Gauds for our lovely ladies. Buy our grain and you can sell to us at a 
happy profit." 

A Hindu journalist looked thoughtful, started to write. Next to him 
was a European type who seemed unimpressed. He said, "Professor, have you 
any idea of the cost of shipping that much tonnage to the Moon?" 

Prof waved it aside. "A technicality. Sir, there was a time when it 
was not simply expensive to ship goods across oceans but impossible. Then 
it was expensive, difficult, dangerous. Today you sell goods half around 
your planet almost as cheaply as next door; long-distance shipping is the 
least important factor in cost. Gentlemen, I am not an engineer. But I 
have learned this about engineers. When something must be done, engineers 
can find a way that is economically feasible. If you want the grain that 
we can grow, turn your engineers loose." Prof gasped and labored, 
signaled for help and nurses wheeled him away. 

I declined to be questioned on it, telling them that they must talk 
to Prof when he was well enough to see them. So they pecked at me on 
other lines. One man demanded to know why, since we paid no taxes, we 
colonists thought we had a right to run things our own way? After all, 
those colonies had been established by Federated Nations--by some of 
them. It had been terribly expensive. Earth had paid all bills--and now 
you colonists enjoy benefits and pay not one dime of taxes. Was that 

I wanted to tell him to blow it. But Prof had again made me take a 
tranquilizer and had required me to swot that endless list of answers to 
trick questions. "Lets take that one at a time," I said. "First, what is 
it you want us to pay taxes for? Tell me what I get and perhaps I'll buy 
it. No, put it this way. Do you pay taxes?" 

"Certainly I do! And so should you." 

"And what do you get for your taxes?" 

"Huh? Taxes pay for government." 

I said, "Excuse me, I'm ignorant. I've lived my whole life in Luna, 

I don't know much about your government. Can you feed it to me in small 
pieces? What do you get for your money?" 

They all got interested and anything this aggressive little choom 
missed, others supplied. I kept a list. When they stopped, I read it 
back: "Free hospitals--aren ' t any in Luna. Medical insurance--we have 
that but apparently not what you mean by it. If a person wants insurance, 
he goes to a bookie and works b-Out a bet. You can hedge anything, for a 
price. I don't hedge my health, I'm healthy. Or was till I came here. We 
have a public library, one Carnegie Foundation started with a few book 
films. It gets along by charging fees. Public roads. I suppose that would 
be our tubes. But they are no more free than air is free. Sorry, you have 
free air here, don't you? I mean our tubes were built by companies who 
put up money and are downright nasty about expecting it back and then 
some. Public schools. There are schools in all warrens and I never heard 
of them turning away pupils, so I guess they are 'public.' But they pay 
well, too, because anyone in Luna who knows something useful and is 
willing to teach it charges all the traffic will bear." 

I went on: "Let's see what else Social security. I'm not sure 

what that is but whatever it is, we don't have it. Pensions. You can buy 
a pension. Most people don't; most families are large and old people, say 
a hundred and up, either fiddle along at something they like, or sit and 
watch video. Or sleep. They sleep a lot, after say a hundred and twenty." 

"Sir, excuse me. Do people really live as long on the Moon as they 


I looked surprised but wasn't; this was a "simulated question" for 
which an answer had been taped. "Nobody knows how long a person will live 
in Luna; we haven't been there long enough. Our oldest citizens were born 
Earthside, it's no test. So far, no one born in Luna died of old age, but 
that's still no test; they haven't had time to grow old yet, less than a 
century. But--Well, take me, madam; how old would you say I am? I'm 
authentic Loonie, third generation." 

"Uh, truthfully, Colonel Davis, I was surprised at your 
youthfulness--for this mission, I mean. You appear to be about twenty- 
two. Are you older? Not much, I fancy." 

"Madam, I regret that your local gravitation makes it impossible 
for me to bow. Thank you. I've been married longer than that." 

"What? Oh, you're jesting!" 

"Madam, I would never venture to guess a lady's age but, if you 
will emigrate to Luna, you will keep your present youthful loveliness 
much longer and add at least twenty years to your life. " I looked at 
list. "I'll lump the rest of this together by saying we don't have any of 
it in Luna, so I can't see any reason to pay taxes for it. On that other 
point, sir, surely you know that the initial cost of the colonies has 
long since been repaid several times over through grain shipments alone? 
We are being bled white of our most essential resources. . . and not even 

being paid an open-market price. That's why the Lunar Authority is being 

stubborn; they intend to go on bleeding us. The idea that Luna has been 

an expense to Terra and the investment must be recovered is a lie 
invented by the Authority to excuse their treating us as slaves. The 
truth is that Luna has not cost Terra one dime this century — and the 
original investment has long since been paid back." 

He tried to rally. "Oh, surely you're not claiming that the Lunar 
colonies have paid all the billions of dollars it took to develop space 

"I could present a good case. However there is no excuse to charge 
that against us. You have space flight, you people of Terra. We do not. 

Luna has not one ship. So why should we pay for what we never received? 

It's like the rest of this list. We don't get it, why should we pay for 

Had been stalling, waiting for a claim that Prof had told me I was 
sure to hear... and got it at last. 

"Just a moment, please!" came a confident voice. "You ignored the 
two most important items on that list. Police protection and armed 
forces. You boasted that you were willing to pay for what you get... so 
how about paying almost a century of back taxes for those two? It should 
be quite a bill, quite a bill!" He smiled smugly. 

Wanted to thank him! --thought Prof was going to chide me for 
failing to yank it out. People looked at each other and nodded, pleased I 
had been scored on. Did best to look innocent. "Please? Don't understand. 
Luna has neither police nor armed forces . " 

"You know what I mean. You enjoy the protection of the Peace Forces 
of the Federated Nations. And you do have police. Paid for by the Lunar 
Authority! I know, to my certain knowledge, that two phalanges were sent 
to the Moon less than a year ago to serve as policemen." 

"Oh. " I sighed. "Can you tell me how F. N. peace forces protect 
Luna? I did not know that any of your nations wanted to attack us. We are 
far away and have nothing anyone envies. Or did you mean we should pay 
them to leave us alone? If so, there is an old saying that once you pay 
Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane. Sir, we will fight F. N. armed 
forces if we must... we shall never pay them. 

"Now about those so-called 'policemen.' They were not sent to 
protect us. Our Declaration of Independence told the true story about 
those hoodlums--did your newspapers print it?" (Some had, some hadn't-- 
depended on country.) "They went mad and started raping and murdering! 

And now they are dead! So don't send us any more troops!" 

Was suddenly "tired" and had to leave. Really was tired; not much 
of an actor and making that talk-talk come out way Prof thought it should 
was strain. 


Was not told till later that I had received an assist in that interview; 
lead about "police" and "armed forces" had been fed by a stooge; Stu 
LaJoie took no chances. But by time I knew, I had had experience in 
handling interviews; we had them endlessly. 

Despite being tired was not through that night. In addition to 
press some Agra diplomatic corps had risked showing up--few and none 
officially, even from Chad. But we were curiosities and they wanted to 
look at us. 

Only one was important, a Chinee. Was startled to see him; he was 
Chinee member of committee. I met him, simply as "Dr. Chan" and we 
pretended to be meeting first time. 

He was that Dr. Chan who was then Senator from Great China and also 
Great China's long-time number-one boy in Lunar Authority--and, much 
later, Vice-Chairman and Premier, shortly before his assassin. 

After getting out point I was supposed to make, with bonus through 
others that could have waited, I guided chair to bedroom and was at once 
summoned to Prof's. "Manuel, I'm sure you noticed our distinguished 
visitor from the Middle Kingdom." 

"Old Chinee from committee?" 

"Try to curb the Loonie talk, son. Please don't use it at all here, 
even with me. Yes. He wants to know what we meant by 'tenfold or a 
hundredfold.' So tell him." 

"Straight? Or swindle?" 

"The straight. This man is no fool. Can you handle the technical 

"Done my homework. Unless he's expert in ballistics." 

"He's not. But don't pretend to know anything you don't know. And 
don't assume that he's friendly. But he could be enormously helpful if he 

concludes that our interests and his coincide. But don't try to persuade 
him. He's in my study. Good luck. And remember--speak standard English." 

Dr. Chan stood up as I came in; I apologized for not standing. He 
said that he understood difficulties that a gentleman from Luna labored 
under here and for me not to exert myself--shook hands with himself and 
sat down. 

I'll skip some formalities. Did we or did we not have some specific 
solution when we claimed there was a cheap way to ship massive tonnage to 

Told him was a method, expensive in investment but cheap in running 
expenses. "It's the one we use on Luna, sir. A catapult, an escape-speed 
induction catapult." 

His expression changed not at all. "Colonel, are you aware that 
such has been proposed many times and always rejected for what seemed 
good reasons? Something to do with air pressure." 

"Yes, Doctor. But we believe, based on extensive analysis by 
computer and on our experience with catapulting, that today the problem 
can be solved. Two of our larger firms, the LuNoHo Company and the Bank 
of Hong Kong in Luna, are ready to head a syndicate to do it as a private 
venture. They would need help here on Earth and might share voting stock- 
-though they would prefer to sell bonds and retain control. Primarily 
what they need is a concession from some government, a permanent easement 
on which to build the catapult. Probably India." 

(Above was set speech. LuNoHoCo was bankrupt if anybody examined 
books, and Hong Kong Bank was strained; was acting as central bank for 
country undergoing upheaval. Purpose was to get in last word, "India." 
Prof had coached me that this word must come last.) 

Dr. Chan answered, "Never mind financial aspects. Anything which is 
physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a 
bugaboo of small minds. Why do you select India?" 

"Well, sir, India now consumes, I believe, over ninety per cent of 
our grain shipments--" 

"Ninety-three point one percent." 

"Yes, sir. India is deeply interested in our grain so it seemed 
likely that she would cooperate. She could grant us land, make labor and 
materials available, and so forth. But I mentioned India because she 
holds a wide choice of possible sites, very high mountains not too far 
from Terra's equator. The latter is not essential, just helpful. But the 
site must be a high mountain. It's that air pressure you spoke of, or air 
density. The catapult head should be at as high altitude as feasible but 
the ejection end, where the load travels over eleven kilometers per 
second, must be in air so thin that it approaches vacuum. Which calls for 
a very high mountain. Take the peak Nanda Devi, around four hundred 
kilometers from here. It has a railhead sixty kilometers from it and a 
road almost to its base. It is eight thousand meters high. I don't know 
that Nanda Devi is ideal. It is simply a possible site with good 
logistics; the ideal site would have to be selected by Terran engineers." 

"A higher mountain would be better?" 

"Oh, yes, sir!" I assured him. "A higher mountain would be 
preferred over one nearer the equator. The catapult can be designed to 
make up for loss in free ride from Earth's rotation. The difficult thing 
is to avoid so far as possible this pesky thick atmosphere. Excuse me, 
Doctor; I did not mean to criticize your planet." 

"There are higher mountains. Colonel, tell me about this proposed 
catapult . " 

I started to. "The length of an escape-speed catapult is determined 
by the acceleration. We think--or the computer calculates--that an 
acceleration of twenty gravities is about optimum. For Earth's escape 
speed this requires a catapult three hundred twenty-three kilometers in 
length. Therefore " 

"Stop, please! Colonel, are you seriously proposing to bore a hole 
over three hundred kilometers deep?" 

"Oh, no! Construction has to be above ground to permit shock waves 
to expand. The stator would stretch nearly horizontally, rising perhaps 
four kilometers in three hundred and in a straight line--almost straight, 
as Coriolis acceleration and other minor variables make it a gentle 
curve. The Lunar catapult is straight so far as the eye can see and so 
nearly horizontal that the barges just miss some peaks beyond it." 

"Oh. I thought that you were overestimating the capacity of 
present-day engineering. We drill deeply today. Not that deeply. Go on." 

"Doctor, it may be that common misconception which caused you to 
check me is why such a catapult has not been constructed before this. 

I've seen those earlier studies. Most assumed that a catapult would be 
vertical, or that it would have to tilt up at the end to toss the 
spacecraft into the sky--and neither is feasible nor necessary. I suppose 
the assumption arose from the fact that your spaceships do boost straight 
up, or nearly . " 

I went on: "But they do that to get above atmosphere, not to get 
into orbit. Escape speed is not a vector quantity; it is scalar. A load 
bursting from a catapult at escape speed will not return to Earth no 
matter what its direction. Uh . . . two corrections: it must not be headed 
toward the Earth itself but at some part of the sky hemisphere, and it 
must have enough added velocity to punch through whatever atmosphere it 
still traverses. If it is headed in the right direction it will wind up 
at Luna . " 

"Ah, yes. Then this catapult could be used but once each lunar 

"No, sir. On the basis on which you were thinking it would be once 
every day, picking the time to fit where Luna will be in her orbit. But 
in fact--or so the computer says; I'm not an astronautics expert--in fact 
this catapult could be used almost any time, simply by varying ejection 
speed, and the orbits could still wind up at Luna." 

"I don't visualize that." 

"Neither do I, Doctor, but--Excuse me but isn't there an 
exceptionally fine computer at Peiping University?" 

"And if there is?" (Did I detect an increase in bland 
inscrutability? A Cyborg-computer--Pickled brains? Or live ones, aware? 
Horrible, either way.) 

"Why not ask a topnotch computer for all possible ejection times 
for such a catapult as I have described? Some orbits go far outside 
Luna's orbit before returning to where they can be captured by Luna, 
taking a fantastically long time. Others hook around Terra and then go 
quite directly. Some are as simple as the ones we use from Luna. There 
are periods each day when short orbits may be selected. But a load is in 
the catapult less than one minute; the limitation is how fast the beds 
can be made ready. It is even possible to have more than one load going 
up the catapult at a time if the power is sufficient and computer control 

is versatile. The only thing that worries me is--These high mountains 
they are covered with snow?" 

"Usually," he answered. "Ice and snow and bare rock." 

"Well, sir, being born in Luna I don t know anything about snow. 

The stator would not only have to be rigid under the heavy gravity of 
this planet but would have to withstand dynamic thrusts at twenty 
gravities. I don t suppose it could be anchored to ice or snow. Or could 
it be?" 

"I'm not an engineer, Colonel, but it seems unlikely. Snow and ice 
would have to be removed. And kept clear. Weather would be a problem, 
too . " 

"Weather I know nothing about, Doctor, and all I know about ice is 
that it has a heat of crystallization of three hundred thirty-five 
million joules per tonne. I have no idea how many tonnes would have to be 
melted to clear the site, or how much energy would be required to keep it 
clear, but it seems to me that it might take as large a reactor to keep 
it free of ice as to power the catapult." 

"We can build reactors, we can melt ice. Or engineers can be sent 
north for reeducation until they do understand ice." Dr. Chan smiled and 
I shivered. "However, the engineering of ice and snow was solved in 
Antarctica years ago; don't worry about it. A clear, solid-rock site 
about three hundred fifty kilometers long at a high altitude--Anything 
else I should know?" 

"Not much, sir. Melted ice could be collected near the catapult 
head and thus be the most massy part of what will be shipped to Luna-- 
quite a saving. Also the steel canisters would be re-used to ship grain 
to Earth, thus stopping another drain that Luna can't take. No reason why 
a canister should not make the trip hundreds of times. At Luna it would 
be much the way barges are now landed off Bombay, solid-charge 
retrorockets programmed by ground control--except that it would be much 
cheaper, two and a half kilometer-seconds change of motion versus eleven- 
plus, a squared factor of about twenty--but actually even more favorable, 
as retros are parasitic weight and the payload improves accordingly. 

There is even a way to improve that." 


"Doctor, this is outside my specialty. But everybody knows that 
your best ships use hydrogen as reaction mass heated by a fusion reactor. 
But hydrogen is expensive in Luna and any mass could be reaction mass; it 
just would not be as efficient. Can you visualize an enormous, brute- 
force space tug designed to fit Lunar conditions? It would use raw rock, 
vaporized, as reaction mass and would be designed to go up into parking 
orbit, pick up those shipments from Terra, bring them down to Luna's 
surface. It would be ugly, all the fancies stripped away--might not be 
manned even by a Cyborg. It can be piloted from the ground, by computer." 

"Yes, I suppose such a ship could be designed. But let's not 
complicate things. Have you covered the essentials about this catapult?" 

"I believe so, Doctor. The site is the crucial thing. Take that 
peak Nanda Devi. By the maps I have seen it appears to have a long, very 
high ridge sloping to the west for about the length of our catapult. If 
that is true, it would be ideal--less to cut away, less to bridge. I 
don't mean that it is the ideal site but that is the sort to look for: a 
very high peak with a long, long ridge west of it." 

"I understand." Dr. Chan left abruptly. 

Next few weeks I repeated that in a dozen countries, always in 
private and with implication that it was secret. All that changed was 
name of mountain. In Ecuador I pointed out that Chimborazo was almost on 
equator--ideal ! But in Argentina I emphasized that their Aconcagua was 
highest peak in Western Hemisphere. In Bolivia I noted that Altoplano was 
as high as Tibetan Plateau (almost true) , much nearer equator, and 
offered a wide choice of sites for easy construction leading up to peaks 
comparable to any on Terra. 

I talked to a North American who was a political opponent of that 
choom who had called us "rabble." I pointed out that, while Mount 
McKinley was comparable to anything in Asia or South America, there was 
much to be said for Mauna Loa--extreme ease of construction. Doubling 
gees to make it short enough to fit, and Hawaii would be Spaceport of 
World... whole world, for we talked about day when Mars would be 
exploited and freight for three (possibly four) planets would channel 
through their "Big Island." 

Never mentioned Mauna Loa ' s volcanic nature; instead I noted that 
location permitted an aborted load to splash harmlessly in Pacific Ocean. 

In Sovunion was only one peak discussed--Lenin, over thousand 
meters (and rather too close to their big neighbor) . 

Kilimanjaro, Popocatepetl, Logan, El Libertado--my favorite peak 
changed by country; all that we required was that it be "highest 
mountain" in hearts of locals. I found something to say about modest 
mountains of Chad when we were entertained there and rationalized so well 
I almost believed it. 

Other times, with help of leading questions from Stu LaJoie's 
stooges, I talked about chemical engineering (of which I know nothing but 
had memorized facts) on surface of Luna, where endless free vacuum and 
sunpower and limitless raw materials and predictable conditions permitted 
ways of processing expensive or impossible Earthside--when day arrived 
that cheap shipping both ways made it profitable to exploit Luna's virgin 
resources. Was always a suggestion that entrenched bureaucracy of Lunar 
Authority had failed to see great potential of Luna (true) , plus answer 
to a question always asked, which answer asserted that Luna could accept 
any number of colonists. 

This also was true, although never mentioned that Luna (yes, and 
sometimes Luna's Loonies) killed about half of new chums. But people we 
talked to rarely thought of emigrating themselves; they thought of 
forcing or persuading others to emigrate to relieve crowding--and to 
reduce their own taxes. Kept mouth shut about fact that half-fed swarms 
we saw everywhere did breed faster than even catapulting could offset. 

We could not house, feed, and train even a million new chums each 
year--and a million wasn't a drop on Terra; more babies than that were 
conceived every night. We could accept far more than would emigrate 
voluntarily but if they used forced emigration and flooded us... Luna has 
only one way to deal with a new chum: Either he makes not one fatal 
mistake, in personal behavior or in coping with environment that will 
bite without warning... or he winds up as fertilizer in tunnel farm. 

All that immigration in huge numbers could mean would be that a 
larger percentage of immigrants would die--too few of us to help them 
past natural hazards . 

However, Prof did most talking about "Luna's great future." I 
talked about catapults. 

During weeks we waited for committee to recall us, we covered much 
ground. Stu's men had things set up and only question was how much we 
could take. Would guess that every week on Terra chopped a year off our 
lives, maybe more for Prof. But he never complained and was always ready 
to be charming at one more reception. 

We spent extra time in North America. Date of our Declaration of 
Independence, exactly three hundred years after that of North American 
British colonies, turned out to be wizard propaganda and Stu's 
manipulators made most of it. North Americans are sentimental about their 
"United States" even though it ceased to mean anything once their 
continent had been rationalized by F. N. They elect a president every 
eight years, why, could not say--why do British still have Queen?--and 
boast of being "sovereign." 

"Sovereign," like "love," means anything you want it to mean; it's 
a word in dictionary between "sober" and "sozzled." 

"Sovereignty" meant much in North America and "Fourth of July" was 
a magic date; Fourth-of- July League handled our appearances and Stu told 
us that it had not cost much to get it moving and nothing to keep going; 
League even raised money used elsewhere--North Americans enjoy giving no 
matter who gets it. 

Farther south Stu used another date; his people planted idea that 
coup d'etat had been 5 May instead of two weeks later. We were greeted 
with "Cinco de Mayo! Libertad! Cinco de Mayo!" I thought they were 
saying, "Thank you"--Prof did all talking. 

But in 4th-of-July country I did better. Stu had me quit wearing a 
left arm in public, sleeves of my costumes were sewed up so that stump 
could not be missed, and word was passed that I had lost it "fighting for 
freedom." Whenever I was asked about it, all I did was smile and say, 

"See what comes of biting nails?"--then change subject. 

I never liked North America, even first trip. It is not most 
crowded part of Terra, has a mere billion people. In Bombay they sprawl 
on pavements; in Great New York they pack them vertically--not sure 
anyone sleeps. Was glad to be in invalid's chair. 

Is mixed-up place another way; they care about skin color--by 
making point of how they don't care. First trip I was always too light or 
too dark, and somehow blamed either way, or was always being expected to 
take stand on things I have no opinions on. Bog knows I don't know what 
genes I have. One grandmother came from a part of Asia where invaders 
passed as regularly as locusts, raping as they went--why not ask her? 

Learned to handle it by my second makee-learnee but it left a sour 
taste. Think I prefer a place as openly racist as India, where if you 
aren't Hindu, you're nobody--except that Parsees look down on Hindus and 
vice versa. However I never really had to cope with North America's 
reverse-racism when being "Colonel O' Kelly Davis, Hero of Lunar Freedom." 

We had swarms of bleeding hearts around us, anxious to help. I let 
them do two things for me, things I had never had time, money, or energy 
for as a student: I saw Yankees play and i visited Salem. 

Should have kept my illusions. Baseball is better over video, you 
can really see it and aren't pushed in by two hundred thousand other 
people. Besides, somebody should have shot that outfield. I spent most of 
that game dreading moment when they would have to get my chair out 
through crowd--that and assuring host that I was having a wonderful time. 

Salem was just a place, no worse (and no better) than rest of 
Boston. After seeing it I suspected they had hanged wrong witches. But 

day wasn't wasted; I was filmed laying a wreath on a place where a bridge 
had been in another part of Boston, Concord, and made a memorized speech- 
-bridge is still there, actually; you can see it, down through glass. Not 
much of a bridge. 

Prof enjoyed it all, rough as it was on him: Prof had great 
capacity for enjoying. He always had something new to tell about great 
future of Luna. In New York he gave managing director of a hotel chain, 
one with rabbit trade mark, a sketch of what could be done with resorts 
in Luna--once excursion rates were within reach of more people--visits 
too short to hurt anyone, escort service included, exotic side trips, 
gambling--no taxes. 

Last point grabbed attention, so Prof expanded it into "longer old 
age" theme--a chain of retirement hostels where an earthworm could live 
on Terran old-age pension and go on living, twenty, thirty, forty years 
longer than on Terra. As an exile--but which was better? A live old age 
in Luna? Or a funeral crypt on Terra? His descendants could pay visits 
and fill those resort hotels. Prof embellished with pictures of 
"nightclubs" with acts impossible in Terra's horrible gravity, sports to 
fit our decent level of gravitation--even talked about swimming pools and 
ice skating and possibility of flying! (Thought he had tripped his 
safeties.) He finished by hinting that Swiss cartel had tied it up. 

Next day he was telling foreign-divisions manager of Chase 
International Panagra that a Luna City branch should be staffed with 
paraplegics, paralytics, heart cases, amputees, others who found high 
gravity a handicap. Manager was a fat man who wheezed, he may have been 
thinking of it personally--but his ears pricked up at "no taxes." 

We didn't have it all our own way. News was often against us and 
were always hecklers. Whenever I had to take them on without Prof's help 
I was likely to get tripped. One man tackled me on Prof's statement to 
committee that we "owned" grain grown in Luna: he seemed to take it for 
granted that we did not. Told him I did not understand question. 

He answered, "Isn't it true. Colonel, that your provisional 
government has asked for membership in Federated Nations?" 

Should have answered, "No comment." But fell for it and agreed. 
"Very well," he said, "the impediment seems to be the counterclaim that 

the Moon belongs to the Federated Nations--as it always has under 

supervision of the Lunar Authority. Either way, by your own admission, 
that grain belongs to the Federated Nations, in trust." 

I asked how he reached that conclusion? He answered, 'Colonel, you 
style yourself 'Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs.' Surely you are 
familiar with the charter of the Federated Nations." 

I had skimmed it. "Reasonably familiar," I said--cautiously, I 
thought . 

"Then you know the First Freedom guaranteed by the Charter and its 
current application through F & A Control Board Administrative Order 
Number eleven-seventy-six dated three March of this year. You concede 
therefore that all grain grown on the Moon in excess of the local ration 
is ab initio and beyond contest the property of all, title held in trust 
by the Federated Nations through its agencies for distribution as 
needed." He was writing as he talked. "Have you anything to add to that 
concession? " 

I said, "What in Bog's name you talking about?" Then, "Come back! 
Haven't conceded anything!" 


So Great New York Times printed: 


New York Today--0 ' Kelly Davis, soi-disant "Colonel of the Armed 
Forces of Free Luna" here on a junket to stir up support for the 
insurgents in the F. N. Lunar colonies, said in a voluntary statement to 
this paper that the "Freedom from Hunger" clause in the Grand Charter 
applied to the Lunar grain shipments-- I asked Prof how should have 
handled? "Always answer an unfriendly question with another question, " he 
told me. "Never ask him to clarify; he'll put words in your mouth. This 
reporter--Was he skinny? Ribs showing?" 

"No . Heavyset . " 

"Not living on eighteen hundred calories a day, I take it, which is 
the subject of that order he cited. Had you known you could have asked 
him how long he had conformed to the ration and why he quit? Or asked him 
what he had for breakfast--and then looked unbelieving no matter what he 
answered. Or when you don't know what a man is getting at, let your 
counter-question shift the subject to something you do want to talk 
about. Then, no matter what he answers, make your point and call on 
someone else. Logic does not enter into it-- just tactics." 

"Prof, nobody here is living on eighteen hundred calories a day. 
Bombay, maybe. Not here." 

"Less than that in Bombay. Manuel, that 'equal ration' is a 
fiction. Half the food on this planet is in the black market, or is not 
reckoned through one ruling or another. Or they keep two sets of books, 
and figures submitted to the F. N. having nothing to do with the economy. 
Do you think that grain from Thailand and Burma and Australia is 
correctly reported to the Control Board by Great China? I'm sure that the 
India representative on that food board doesn't. But India keeps quiet 
because she gets the lion's share from Luna... and then 'plays politics 
with hunger '--a phrase you may remember--by using our grain to control 
her elections. Kerala had a planned famine last year. Did you see it in 
the news?" 

"No. " 

"Because it wasn't in the news. A managed democracy is a wonderful 
thing, Manuel, for the managers... and its greatest strength is a 'free 
press' when 'free' is defined as 'responsible' and the managers define 
what is 'irresponsible.' Do you know what Luna needs most?" 

"More ice . " 

"A news system that does not bottleneck through one channel . Our 
friend Mike is our greatest danger." 

"Huh? Don't you trust Mike?" 

"Manuel, on some subjects I don't trust even myself. Limiting the 
freedom of news 'just a little bit' is in the same category with the 
classic example 'a little bit pregnant.' We are not yet free nor will we 
be as long as anyone--even our ally Mike--controls our news. Someday I 
hope to own a newspaper independent of any source or channel. I would 
happily set print by hand, like Benjamin Franklin." 

I gave up. "Prof, suppose these talks fail and grain shipments 
stop. What happens?" 

"People back home will be vexed with us . . . and many here on Terra 
would die. Have you read Malthus?" 

"Don't think so." 

"Many would die. Then a new stability would be reached with 
somewhat more people--more efficient people and better fed. This planet 

isn't crowded; it is just mismanaged... and the unkindest thing you can 
do for a hungry man is to give him food. 'Give.' Read Malthus . It is 
never safe to laugh at Dr. Malthus; he always has the last laugh. A 
depressing man, I'm glad he's dead. But don't read him until this is 
over; too many facts hamper a diplomat, especially an honest one." 

"I'm not especially honest." 

"But you have no talent for dishonesty, so your refuge must be 
ignorance and stubbornness. You have the latter; try to preserve the 
former. For the nonce. Lad, Uncle Bernardo is terribly tired." 

I said, "Sorry," and wheeled out of his room. Prof was hitting too 
hard a pace. I would have been willing to quit if would insure his 
getting into a ship and out of that gravity. But traffic stayed one way-- 
grain barges, naught else. 

But Prof had fun. As I left and waved lights out, noticed again a 
toy he had bought, one that delighted him like a kid on Christmas--a 
brass cannon. 

A real one from sailing ship days. Was small, barrel about half a 
meter long and massing, with wooden carriage, only kilos fifteen. A 
"signal gun" its papers said. Reeked of ancient history, pirates, men 
"walking plank." A pretty thing but I asked Prof why? If we ever managed 
to leave, price to lift that mass to Luna would hurt--I was resigned to 
abandoning a p-suit with years more wear in it--abandon everything but 
two left arms and a pair of shorts. If pressed, might give up social arm. 
If very pressed, would skip shorts. 

He reached out and stroked shiny barrel. "Manuel, once there was a 
man who held a political make-work job like so many here in this 
Directorate, shining brass cannon around a courthouse." 

"Why would courthouse have cannon?" 

"Never mind. He did this for years. It fed him and let him save a 
bit, but he was not getting ahead in the world. So one day he quit his 
job, drew out his savings, bought a brass cannon--and went into business 
for himself . " 

"Sounds like idiot." 

"No doubt. And so were we, when we tossed out the Warden. Manuel, 
you'll outlive me. When Luna adopts a flag, I would like it to be a 
cannon or, on field sable, crossed by bar sinister gules of our proudly 
ignoble lineage. Do you think it could be managed?" 

"Suppose so, if you'll sketch. But why a flag? Not a flagpole in 
all Luna . " 

"It can fly in our hearts... a symbol for all fools so ridiculously 
impractical as to think they can fight city hail. Will you remember, 
Manuel ? " 

"Sure. That is, will remind you when time comes." Didn't like such 
talk. He had started using oxygen tent in private--and would not use in 
public . 

Guess I'm "ignorant" and "stubborn" --was both in place called 
Lexington, Kentucky, in Central Managerial Area. One thing no doctrine 
about, no memorized answers, was life in Luna. Prof said to tell truth 
and emphasize homely, warm, friendly things, especially anything 
different. "Remember, Manuel, the thousands of Terrans who have made 
short visits to Luna are only a tiny fraction of one percent. To most 
people we will be as weirdly interesting as strange animals in a zoo. Do 
you remember that turtle on exhibition in Old Dome? That's us." 

Certainly did; they wore that insect out, staring at. So when this 
male-female team started quizzing about family life in Luna was happy to 
answer. I prettied it only by what I left out--things that aren't family 
life but poor substitutes in a community overloaded with males, Luna City 
is homes and families mainly, dull by Terra standards--but I like it. And 
other warrens much same, people who work and raise kids and gossip and 
find most of their fun around dinner table. Not much to tell, so I 
discussed anything they found interesting. Every Luna custom comes from 
Terra since that's where we all came from, but Terra is such a big place 
that a custom from Micronesia, say, may be strange in North America. 

This woman— can't call her lady—wanted to know about various sorts 
of marriage. First, was it true that one could get married without a 
license "on" Luna? 

I asked what a marriage license was? 

Her companion said, "Skip it, Mildred. Pioneer societies never have 
marriage licenses . " 

"But don't you keep records?" she persisted. 

"Certainly," I agreed. "My family keeps a family book that goes 
back almost to first landing at Johnson City—every marriage, birth, 
death, every event of importance not only in direct line but all branches 
so far as we can keep track. And besides, is a man, a schoolteacher, 
going around copying old family records all over our warren, writing a 
history of Luna City. Hobby." 

"But don't you have official records? Here in Kaintucky we have 
records that go back hundreds of years." 

"Madam, we haven't lived there that long." 

"Yes, but—Well, Luna City must have a city clerk. Perhaps you call 
him 'county recorder. ' The official who keeps track of such things. Deeds 
and so forth . " 

I said. "Don't think so, madam. Some bookies do notary work, 
witnessing chops on contracts, keeping records of them. Is for people who 
don't read and write and can't keep own records. But never heard of one 
asked to keep record of marriage. Not saying couldn't happen. But haven't 
heard . " 

"How delightfully informal ! Then this other rumor, about how simple 
it is to get a divorce on the Moon. I daresay that's true, too?" 

"No, madam, wouldn't say divorce is simple. Too much to untangle. 
Mmm. . . take a simple example, one lady and say she has two husbands--" 


"Might have more, might have just one. Or might be complex 
marriage. But let's take one lady and two men as typical. She decides to 
divorce one. Say it's friendly, with other husband agreeing and one she 
is getting rid of not making fuss. Not that it would do him any good. 
Okay, she divorces him; he leaves. Still leaves endless things. Men might 
be business partners, co-husbands often are. Divorce may break up 
partnership. Money matters to settle. This three may own cubic together, 
and while will be in her name, ex-husband probably has cash coming or 
rent. And almost always are children to consider, support and so forth. 
Many things. No, madam, divorce is never simple. Can divorce him in ten 
seconds but may take ten years to straighten out loose ends. Isn't it 
much that way here?" 

"Uh. . . just fuhget ah evah asked the question, Cunn'l; it may be 
simpluh hyuh." (She did talk that way but was understandable once I got 

program. Won't spell it again.) "But if that is a simple marriage, what 
is a 'complex' one?" 

Found self explaining polyandries, clans, groups, lines, and less 
common patterns considered vulgar by conservative people such as my own 
family--deal my mother set up, say, after she ticked off my old man, 
though didn't describe that one; Mother was always too extreme. 

Woman said, "You have me confused. What is the difference between a 
line and a clan?" 

Are quite different. Take own case. I have honor to be member of 
one of oldest line marriages in Luna--and, in my prejudiced opinion, 
best. You asked about divorce. Our family has never had one and would bet 
long odds never will. A line marriage increases in stability year after 
year, gains practice in art of getting along together, until notion of 
anybody leaving is unthinkable. Besides, takes unanimous decision of all 
wives to divorce a husband--could never happen. Senior wife would never 
let it get that far." 

Went on describing advantages--financial security, fine home life 
it gives children, fact that death of a spouse, while tragic, could never 
be tragedy it was in a temporary family, especially for children-- 
children simply could not be orphaned. Suppose I waxed too enthusiastic-- 
but my family is most important thing in my life. Without them I'm just 
one-armed mechanic who could be eliminated without causing a draft. 

"Here's why is stable," I said. "Take my youngest wife, sixteen. 
Likely be in her eighties before is senior wife. Doesn't mean all wives 
senior to her will die by then; unlikely in Luna, females seem to be 
immortal. But may all opt out of family management by then; by our family 
traditions they usually do, without younger wives putting pressure on 
them. So Ludmilla--" 


"Russki name. From fairy tale. Milla will have over fifty years of 
good example before has to carry burden. She's sensible to start with, 
not likely to make mistakes and if did, has other wives to steady her. 
Self-correcting, like a machine with proper negative feedback. A good 
line marriage is immortal; expect mine to outlast me at least a thousand 
years--and is why shan't mind dying when time comes; best part of me will 
go on living . " 

Prof was being wheeled out; he had them stop stretcher cart and 
listened. I turned to him. "Professor," I said, "you know my family. 

Would mind telling this lady why it's a happy family? If you think so." 

"It is," agreed Prof. "However, I would rather make a more general 
remark. Dear madam, I gather that you find our Lunar marriage customs 
somewhat exotic." 

"Oh, I wouldn't go that far!" she said hastily. "Just somewhat 
unusual . " 

"They arise, as marriage customs always do, from economic 
necessities of the circumstances--and our circumstances are very 
different from those here on Earth. Take the line type of marriage which 
my colleague has been praising. . and justifiably, I assure you, despite 
his personal bias--I am a bachelor and have no bias. Line marriage is the 
strongest possible device for conserving capital and insuring the welfare 
of children--the two basic societal functions for marriage everywhere--in 
an environment in which there is no security, neither for capital nor for 
children, other than that devised by individuals . Somehow human beings 
always cope with their environments. Line marriage is a remarkably 

successful invention to that end. All other Lunar forms of marriage serve 
that same purpose, though not as well." 

He said goodnight and left. I had with me — always ! --a picture of my 
family, newest one, our wedding with Wyoming. Brides are at their 
prettiest and Wyoh was radiant--and rest of us looked handsome and happy, 
with Grandpaw tall and proud and not showing failing faculties. 

But was disappointed; they looked at it oddly. But man --Mathews, 
name was--said, "Can you spare this picture. Colonel?" 

Winced. "Only copy I have. And a long way from home." 

"For a moment, I mean. Let me have it photographed. Right here, it 
need never leave your hands, " 

"Oh. Oh, certainly!" Not a good picture of me but is face I have, 
and did Wyoh justice and they just don't come prettier than Lenore. 

So he photographed it and next morning they did come right into our 
hotel suite and woke me before time and did arrest and take me away wheel 
chair and all and did lock me in a cell with bars! For bigamy. For 
polygamy. For open immorality and publicly inciting others to same. 

Was glad Mum couldn't see. 


Took Stu all day to get case transferred to an F. N. court and dismissed. 
His lawyers asked to have it tossed out on "diplomatic immunity" but F. 

N. judges did not fall into trap, merely noted that alleged offenses had 
taken place outside jurisdiction of lower court, except alleged 
"inciting" concerning which they found insufficient evidence. Aren't any 
F. N. laws covering marriage; can't be-- just a rule about each nation 
required to give "full faith and credence" to marriage customs of other 
member nations. 

Out of those eleven billion people perhaps seven billion lived 
where polygamy is legal, and Stu's opinion manipulators played up 
"persecution"; it gained us sympathy from people who otherwise would 
never have heard of us--even gained it in North America and other places 
where polygamy is not legal, from people who believe in "live and let 
live." All good, because always problem was to be noticed. To most of 
those bee-swarm billions Luna was nothing; our rebellion hadn't been 

Stu's operators had gone to much thought to plan setup to get me 
arrested. Was not told until weeks later after time to cool off and see 
benefits. Took a stupid judge, a dishonest sheriff, and barbaric local 
prejudice which I triggered with that sweet picture, for Stu admitted 
later that range of color in Davis family was what got judge angry enough 
to be foolish even beyond native talent for nonsense. 

My one consolation, that Mum could not see my disgrace, turned out 
mistaken; pictures, taken through bars and showing grim face, were in 
every Luna paper, and write-ups used nastiest Earthside stories, not 
larger number that deplored injustice. But should have had more faith in 
Mimi; she wasn't ashamed, simply wanted to go Earthside and rip some 
people to pieces. 

While helped Earthside, greatest good was in Luna. Loonies become 
more unified over this silly huhu than had ever been before. They took it 
personally and "Adam Selene" and "Simon Jester" pushed it. Loonies are 
easygoing except on one subject, women. Every lady felt insulted by 
Terran news stories — so male Loonies who had ignored politics suddenly 
discovered I was their boy. 

Spin-of f--old lags feel superior to those not transported. Later 
found self greeted by ex-cons with: "Hi, jailbird!" A lodge greeting--I 
was accepted. 

But saw nothing good about it then! Pushed around, treated like 
cattle, fingerprinted, photographed, given food we wouldn't offer hogs, 
exposed to endless indignity, and only that heavy field kept me from 
trying to kill somebody--had I been wearing number-six arm when grabbed, 
might have tried. 

But steadied down once I was freed. Hour later we were on way to 
Agra; had at last been summoned by committee. Felt good to be back in 
suite in maharajah's palace but eleven-hour zone change in less than 
three did not permit rest; we went to hearing bleary-eyed and held 
together by drugs . 

"Hearing" was one-sided; we listened while chairman talked. Talked 
an hour; I'll summarize: Our preposterous claims were rejected. Lunar 
Authority's sacred trust could not be abandoned. Disorders on Earth's 
Moon could not be tolerated. Moreover, recent disorders showed that 
Authority had been too lenient. Omission was now to be corrected by an 
activist program, a five-year plan in which all phases of life in 
Authority's trusteeship would be overhauled. A code of laws was being 
drafted; civil and criminal courts would be instituted for benefit of 
" client-employees "--which meant all persons in trust area, not just 
consignees with uncompleted sentences. Public schools would be 
established, plus indoctrinal adult schools for client-employees in need 
of same. An economic, engineering, and agricultural planning board would 
be created to provide fullest and most efficient use of Moon's resources 
and labor of client-employees. An interim goal of quadrupling grain 
shipments in five years had been adopted as a figure easily obtainable 
once scientific planning of resources and labor was in effect. First 
phase would be to withdraw client-employees from occupations found not to 
be productive and put them to drilling a vast new system of farm tunnels 
in order that hydroponics would commence in them not later than March 
2078. These new giant farms would be operated by Lunar Authority, 
scientifically, and not left to whims of private owners. It was 
contemplated that this system would, by end of five-year plan, produce 
entire new grain quota; in meantime client-employees producing grain 
privately would be allowed to continue. But they would be absorbed into 
new system as their less efficient methods were no longer needed. 

Chairman looked up from papers. "In short, the Lunar colonies are 
going to be civilized and brought into managerial coordination with the 
rest of civilization. Distasteful as this task has been, I feel--speaking 
as a citizen rather than as chairman of this committee--I feel that we 
owe you thanks for bringing to our attention a situation so badly in need 
of correction." 

Was ready to burn his ears off. "Client-employees!" What a fancy 
way to say "slaves"! But Prof said tranquilly, "I find the proposed plans 
most interesting. Is one permitted to ask questions? Purely for 
information? " 

"For information, yes." 

North American member leaned forward. "But don't assume that we are 
going to take any backtalk from you cavemen! So mind your manners. You 
aren't in the clear on this, you know." 

"Order," chairman said. "Proceed, Professor." 

"This term 'client-employee' I find intriguing. Can it be 
stipulated that the majority of inhabitants of Earth's major satellite 
are not undischarged consignees but free individuals?" 

"Certainly," chairman agreed blandly. "All legal aspects of the new 
policy have been studied. With minor exceptions some ninety-one percent 
of the colonists have citizenship, original or derived, in various member 
nations of the Federated Nations. Those who wish to return to their home 
countries have a right to do so. You will be pleased to learn that the 
Authority is considering a plan under which loans for transportation can 
be arranged. . . probably under supervision of International Red Cross and 
Crescent. I might add that I myself am heartily backing this plan--as it 
renders nonsensical any talk about 'slave labor. '" He smiled smugly. 

"I see," agreed Prof. "Most humane. Has the coiranittee — or the 
Authority--pondered the fact that most--ef fectively all, I should say-- 
considered the fact that inhabitants of Luna are physically unable to 
live on this planet? That they have undergone involuntary permanent exile 
through irreversible physiological changes and can never again live in 
comfort and health in a gravitational field six times greater than that 
to which their bodies have become adjusted?" 

Scoundrel pursed lips as if considering totally new idea. "Speaking 
again for myself, I would not be prepared to stipulate that what you say 
is necessarily true. It might be true of some, might not be others; 
people vary widely. Your presence here proves that it is not impossible 
for a Lunar inhabitant to return to Earth. In any case we have no 
intention of forcing anyone to return. We hope that they will choose to 
stay and we hope to encourage others to emigrate to the Moon. But these 
are individual choices, under the freedoms guaranteed by the Great 
Charter. But as to this alleged physiological phenomenon--it is not a 
legal matter. If anyone deems it prudent, or thinks he would be happier, 
to stay on the Moon, that's his privilege." 

"I see, sir. We are free. Free to remain in Luna and work, at tasks 
and for wages set by you. . . or free to return to Earth to die." 

Chairman shrugged. "You assume that we are villians--we ' re not. 

Why, if I were a young man I would emigrate to the Moon myself. Great 
opportunities ! In any case I am not troubled by your distortions--history 
will justify us." 

Was surprised at Prof; he was not fighting. Worried about him-- 
weeks of strain and a bad night on top. All he said was, "Honorable 
Chairman, I assume that shipping to Luna will soon be resumed. Can 
passage be arranged for my colleague and myself in the first ship? For I 
must admit, sir, that this gravitational weakness of which I spoke is, in 
our cases, very real. Our mission is completed; we need to go home." 

(Not a word about grain barges. Nor about "throwing rocks," nor 
even futility of beating a cow. Prof just sounded tired.) 

Chairman leaned forward and spoke with grim satisfaction. 

"Professor, that presents difficulties. To put it bluntly, you appear to 
be guilty of treason against the Great Charter, indeed against all 
humanity... and an indictment is being considered. I doubt if anything 
more than a suspended sentence would be invoked against a man of your age 

and physical condition, however. Do you think it would be prudent of us 
to give you passage back to the place where you committed these acts — 
there to stir up more mischief?" 

Prof sighed. "I understand your point. Then, sir, may I be excused? 
I am weary . " 

"Certainly. Hold yourself at the disposal of this committee. The 
hearing stands adjourned. Colonel Davis--" 

"Sir?" I was directing wheel chair around, to get Prof out at once; 
our attendants had been sent outside. 

"A word with you, please. In my office." 

"Uh--" Looked at Prof; eyes were closed and seemed unconscious. But 
he moved one finger, motioning me to him. "Honorable Chairman, I'm more 
nurse than diplomat; have to look after him. He's an old man, he's ill." 

"The attendants will take care of him." 

"Well. . . " Got as close to Prof as I could from chair, leaned over 
him. "Prof, are you right?" 

He barely whispered. "See what he wants. Agree with him. But 
stall . " 

Moments later was alone with chairman, soundproof door locked-- 
meant nothing; room could have a dozen ears, plus one in my left arm. 

He said, "A drink? Coffee?" 

I answered, "No, thank you, sir. Have to watch my diet here." 

"I suppose so. Are you really limited to that chair? You look 
healthy . " 

I said, "I could, if had to, get up and walk across room. Might 
faint. Or worse. Prefer not to risk. Weigh six times what I should. 
Heart's not used to it." 

"I suppose so. Colonel, I hear you had some silly trouble in North 
America. I'm sorry, I truly am. Barbaric place. Always hate to have to go 
there. I suppose you're wondering why I wanted to see you." 

"No, sir, assume you'll tell when suits you. Instead was wondering 
why you still call me 'Colonel.'" 

He gave a barking laugh. "Habit, I suppose. A lifetime of protocol. 
Yet it might be well for you to continue with that title. Tell me, what 
do you think of our five-year plan?" 

Thought it stunk. "Seems to have been carefully thought out." 

"Much thought went into it. Colonel, you seem to be a sensible man- 
-I know you are, I know not only your background but practically every 
word you've spoken, almost your thoughts, ever since you set foot on 
Earth. You were born on the Moon. Do you regard yourself as a patriot? Of 
the Moon?" 

"Suppose so. Though tend to think of what we did just as something 
that had to be done . " 

"Between ourselves--yes . That old fool Hobart. Colonel, that is a 
good plan... but lacks an executive. If you are really a patriot or let's 
say a practical man with your country's best interests at heart, you 
might be the man to carry it out." He held up hand. "Don't be hasty! I'm 
not asking you to sell out, turn traitor, or any nonsense like that. This 
is your chance to be a real patriot--not some phony hero who gets himself 
killed in a lost cause. Put it this way. Do you think it is possible for 
the Lunar colonies to hold out against all the force that the Federated 
Nations of Earth can bring to bear? You're not really a military man, I 
know--and I'm glad you're not--but you are a technical man, and I know 

that, too. In your honest estimation, how many ships and bombs do you 
think it would take to destroy the Lunar colonies?" 

I answered, "One ship, six bombs." 

"Correct! My God, it's good to talk to a sensible man. Two of them 
would have to be awf'ly big, perhaps specially built. A few people would 
stay alive, for a while, in smaller warrens beyond the blast areas. But 
one ship would do it, in ten minutes." 

I said, "Conceded, sir, but Professor de la Paz pointed out that 
you don't get milk by beating a cow. And certainly can't by shooting it." 

"Why do you think we've held back, done nothing, for over a month? 
That idiot colleague of mine--I won't name him--spoke of 'backtalk.' 
Backtalk doesn't fret me; it's just talk and I'm interested in results. 
No, my dear Colonel, we won't shoot the cow... but we would, if forced 
to, let the cow know that it could be shot. H-missiles are expensive toys 
but we could afford to expend some as warning shots, wasted on bare rock 
to let the cow know what could happen. But that is more force than one 
likes to use--it might frighten the cow and sour its milk." He gave 
another barking laugh. "Better to persuade old bossy to give down 
willingly . " 

I waited. "Don't you want to know how?" he asked. 

"How?" I agreed. 

"Through you. Don't say a word and let me explain--" 

He took me up on that high mountain and offered me kingdoms of 
Earth. Or of Luna. Take job of "Protector Pro Tern" with understanding was 
mine permanently if I could deliver. Convince Loonies they could not win. 
Convince them that this new setup was to their advantage--emphasize 
benefits, free schools, free hospitals, free this and that--details later 
but an everywhere government just like on Terra. Taxes starting low and 
handled painlessly by automatic checkoff and through kickback revenues 
from grain shipments. But, most important, this time Authority would not 
send a boy to do a man's job--two regiments of police at once. 

"Those damned Peace Dragoons were a mistake, " he said, "one we 
won't make again. Between ourselves, the reason it has taken us a month 
to work this out is that we had to convince the Peace Control Commission 
that a handful of men cannot police three million people spread through 
six largish warrens and fifty and more small ones. So you'll start with 
enough police--not combat troops but military police used to quelling 
civilians with a minimum of fuss. Besides that, this time they'll have 
female auxiliaries, the standard ten per cent-no more rape complaints. 
Well, sir? Think you can swing it? Knowing it's best in the long run for 
your own people?" 

I said I ought to study it in detail, particularly plans and quotas 
for five-year plan, rather than make snap decision. 

-Certainly, certainly!" he agreed. "I'll give you a copy of the 
white paper we've made up; take it home, study it, sleep on it. Tomorrow 
we'll talk again. Just give me your word as a gentleman to keep it under 
your hair. No secret, really... but these things are best settled before 
they are publicized. Speaking of publicity, you'll need help--and you'll 
get it. We'll go to the expense of sending up topnotch men, pay them what 
it's worth, have them centrifuge the way those scientists do--you know. 
This time we're doing it right. That fool Hobart--he's actually dead, 
isn't he?" 

"No, sir. Senile, however." 
copy of the plan." 

Should have killed him, Here's your 

"Sir? Speaking of old men--Prof essor de la Paz can't stay here. 
Wouldn't live six months." 

"That's best, isn't it?" 

I tried to answer levelly, "You don't understand. He is greatly 
loved and respected. Best thing would be for me to convince him that you 
mean business with those H-missiles--and that it is his patriotic duty to 
salvage what we can. But, either way, if I return without him... well, 
not only could not swing it; wouldn't live long enough to try." 

"Hmm--Sleep on it. We'll talk tomorrow. Say fourteen o'clock." 

I left and as soon as was loaded into lorry gave way to shakes. 

Just don't have high-level approach. 

Stu was waiting with Prof. "Well?" said Prof. 

I glanced around, tapped ear. We huddled, heads over Prof's head 
and two blankets over us all. Stretcher wagon was clean and so was my 
chair; I checked them each morning. But for room itself seemed safer to 
whisper under blankets. 

Started in. Prof stopped me. "Discuss his ancestry and habits 
later. The facts." 

"He offered me job of Warden." 

"I trust you accepted." 

"Ninety percent. I'm to study this garbage and give answer 
tomorrow. Stu, how fast can we execute Plan Scoot?" 

"Started. We were waiting for you to return. If they let you 
return . " 

Next fifty minutes were busy. Stu produced a gaunt Hindu in a 
dhoti; in thirty minutes he was a twin of Prof, and lifted Prof off wagon 
onto a divan. Duplicating me was easier. Our doubles were wheeled into 
suite's living room just at dusk and dinner was brought in. Several 
people came and went --among them elderly Hindu woman in sari, on arm of 
Stuart La Joie . A plump babu followed them. 

Getting Prof up steps to roof was worst; he had never worn powered 
walkers, had no chance to practice, and had been flat on back for more 
than a month. 

But Stu's arm kept him steady; I gritted teeth and climbed those 
thirteen terrible steps by myself. By time I reached roof, heart was 
ready to burst. Was put to it not to black out. A silent little flitter 
craft came out of gloom right on schedule and ten minutes later we were 
in chartered ship we had used past month--two minutes after that we 
jetted for Australia. Don't know what it cost to prepare this dance and 
keep it ready against need, but was no hitch. 

Stretched out by Prof and caught breath, then said, "How you feel. 

Prof ? " 

"Okay. A bit tired. Frustrated." 

"Ja da. Frustrated." 

"Over not seeing the Taj Mahal, I mean. I never had opportunity as 
a young man--and here I've been within a kilometer of it twice, once for 
several days, now for another day... and still I haven't seen it and 
never shall . " 

"Just a tomb." 

"And Helen of Troy was just a woman. Sleep, lad." We landed in 
Chinee half of Australia, place called Darwin, and were carried straight 
into a ship, placed in acceleration couches and dosed. Prof was already 
out and I was beginning to feel dopy when Stu came in, grinned, and 
strapped down by us. I looked at him. "You, too? Who's minding shop?" 

"The same people who've been doing the real work all along. It's a 
good setup and doesn't need me any longer. Mannie old cobber, I did not 
want to be marooned a long way from home. Luna, I mean, in case you have 
doubts. This looks like the last train from Shanghai." 

"What's Shanghai got to do with?" 

"Forget I mentioned it. Mannie, I'm flat broke, concave. I owe 
money in all directions--debts that will be paid only if certain stocks 
move the way Adam Selene convinced me they would move, shortly after this 
point in history. And I'm wanted, or will be, for offenses against the 
public peace and dignity. Put it this way. I'm saving them the trouble of 
transporting me. Do you think I can learn to be a drillman at my age?" 

Was feeling foggy, drug taking hold. "Stu, in Luna y'aren't old... 
barely started... 'nyway.., eat our table f'ever! Mimi likes you." 

"Thanks, cobber, I might. Warning light! Deep breath!" 

Suddenly was kicked by ten gee. 


Our craft was ground-to-orbit ferry type used for manned satellites, for 
supplying F. N. ships in patrol orbit, and for passengers to and from 
pleasure-and-gambling satellites. She was carrying three passengers 
instead of forty, no cargo except three p-suits and a brass cannon (yes, 
silly toy was along; p-suits and Prof's bang-bang were in Australia a 
week before we were) and good ship Lark had been stripped--total crew was 
skipper and a Cyborg pilot. 

She was heavily overfueled. 

We made (was told) normal approach on Elysium satellite... then 
suddenly scooted from orbital speed to escape speed, a change even more 
violent than liftoff. 

This was scanned by F. N. Skytrack; we were commanded to stop and 
explain. I got this secondhand from Stu, self still recovering and 
enjoying luxury of no-gee with one strap to anchor. Prof was still out. 

"So they want to know who we are and what we think we are doing, " 
Stu told me. "We told them that we were Chinese registry sky wagon 
Opening Lotus bound on an errand of mercy, to wit, rescuing those 
scientists marooned on the Moon, and gave our identification--as Opening 
Lotus . " 

"How about transponder?" 

"Mannie, if I got what I paid for, our transponder identified us as 
the Lark up to ten minutes ago. . . and now has I. D. 'd us as the Lotus. 

Soon we will know. Just one ship is in position to get a missile off and 
it must blast us in"--he stopped to look-- "another twenty-seven minutes 
according to the wired-up gentleman booting this bucket, or its chances 
of getting us are poor to zero. So if it worries you--if you have prayers 
to say or messages to send or whatever it is one does at such times— now 
is the time . " 

"Think we ought to rouse Prof?" 

"Let him sleep. Can you think of a better way to make jump than 
from peaceful sleep instantaneously into a cloud of radiant gas? Unless 

you know that he has religious necessities to attend to? He never struck 
me as a religious man, orthodoctrinally speaking." 

"He's not. But if you have such duties, don't let me keep you." 

"Thank you, I took care of what seemed necessary before we left 
ground. How about yourself, Mannie? I'm not much of a padre but I'll do 
my best, if I can help. Any sins on your mind, old cobber? If you need to 
confess, I know quite a little about sin." 

Told him my needs did not run that way. Then did recall sins, some 
I cherished, and gave him a version more or less true. That reminded him 
of some of his own, which remind me--Zero time came and went before we 
ran out of sins. S LaJoie is a good person to spend last minutes with, 
even if don't turn out to be last. 

We had two days with naught to do but undergo drastic routines to 
keep us from carrying umpteen plagues to Luna. But didn't mind shaking 
from induced chills and burning with fever; free fall was such a relief 
and was so happy to be going home. 

Or almost happy--Prof asked what was troubling me, - "Nothing," I 
said. "Can't wait to be home. But--Truth is, ashamed to show face after 
we've failed. Prof, what did we do wrong?" 

"Failed, my boy?" 

"Don't see what else can call it. Asked to be recognized. Not what 
we got." 

"Manuel, I owe you an apology. You will recall Adam Selene's 
projection of our chances just before we left home." Stu was not in 
earshot but "Mike" was word we never used; was always "Adam Selene" for 
security . 

"Certainly do! One in fifty-three. Then when we reached Earthside 
dropped to reeking one in hundred. What you guess it is now? One in 
thousand? " 

"I've had new projections every few days. . . which is why I owe 
you an apology. The last, received just before we left, included the 
then-untested assumption that we would escape, get clear of Terra and 
home safely. Or that at least one of us three would make it, which is why 
Comrade Stu was summoned home, he having a Terran's tolerance of high 
acceleration. Eight projections, in fact, ranging from three of us dead, 
through various combinations up to three surviving. Would you care to 
stake a few dollars on what that last projection is, setting a bracket 
and naming your own odds? I'll give a hint. You are far too pessimistic." 

"Uh... no, damn it! Just tell." 

"The odds against us are now only seventeen to one... and they've 
been shortening all month. Which I couldn't tell you." 

"Was amazed, delighted, over j oyed--hurt . "What you mean, couldn't 
tell me? Look, Prof, if not trusted, deal me out and put Stu in executive 
cell . " 

"Please, son. That's where he will go if anything happens to any of 
us — you, me, or dear Wyoming. I could not tell you Earthside--and can 
tell you now— not because you aren't trusted but because you are no 
actor. You could carry out your role more effectively if you believed 
that our purpose was to achieve recognition of independence." 

"Now he tells ! " 

"Manuel, Manuel, we had to fight hard every instant--and lose." 

"So? Am big enough boy to be told?" 

"Please, Manuel. Keeping you temporarily in the dark greatly 
enhanced our chances; you can check this with Adam. May I add that Stuart 

accepted his summons to Luna blithely without asking why? Comrade, that 
committee was too small, its chairman too intelligent; there was always 
the hazard that they might offer an acceptable compromise--that first day 
there was grave danger of it. Had we been able to force our case before 
the Grand Assembly there would have been no danger of intelligent action. 
But we were balked. The best I could do was to antagonize the committee, 
even stooping to personal insult to make certain of at least one holdout 
against common sense." 

"Guess I never will understand high-level approach." 

"Possibly not. But your talents and mine complement each other. 
Manuel, you wish to see Luna free." 

"You know I do." 

"You also know that Terra can defeat us." 

"Sure. No projection ever gave anything close to even money. So 
don't see why you set out to antagonize--" 

"Please. Since they can inflict their will on us, our only chance 
lies in weakening their will. That was why we had to go to Terra. To be 
divisive. To create many opinions. The shrewdest of the great generals in 
China's history once said that perfection in war lay in so sapping the 
opponent's will that he surrenders without fighting. In that maxim lies 
both our ultimate purpose and our most pressing danger. Suppose, as 
seemed possible that first day, we had been offered an inviting 
compromise. A governor in place of a warden, possibly from our own 
number. Local autonomy. A delegate in the Grand Assembly. A higher price 
for grain at the catapult head, plus a bonus for increased shipments. A 
disavowal of Hobart's policies combined with an expression of regret over 
the rape and the killings with handsome cash settlements to the victims' 
survivors. Would it have been accepted? Back home?" 

"They did not offer that." 

"The chairman was ready to offer something like it that first 
afternoon and at that time he had his committee in hand. He offered us an 
asking price close enough to permit such a dicker. Assume that we reached 
in substance what I outlined. Would it have been acceptable at home?" 

"Uh . . . maybe . " 

"More than a 'maybe' by the bleak projection made just before we 
left home; it was the thing to be avoided at any cost — a settlement which 
would quiet things down, destroy our will to resist, without changing any 
essential in the longer-range prediction of disaster. So I switched the 
subject and squelched possibility by being difficult about irrelevancies 
politely offensive. Manuel, you and I know — and Adam knows--that there 
must be an end to food shipments; nothing less will save Luna from 
disaster. But can you imagine a wheat farmer fighting to end those 
shipments ? " 

"No. Wonder if can pick up news from home on how they're taking 
stoppage? " 

"There won't be any. Here is how Adam has timed it, Manuel: No 
announcement is to be made on either planet until after we get home. We 
are still buying wheat. Barges are still arriving at Bombay." 

"You told them shipments would stop at once." 

"That was a threat, not a moral commitment. A few more loads won't 
matter and we need time. We don't have everyone on our side; we have only 
a minority. There is a majority who don't care either way but can be 
swayed--temporarily . We have another minority against us... especially 
grain farmers whose interest is never politics but the price of wheat. 

They are grumbling but accepting Scrip, hoping it will be worth face 
value later. But the instant we announce that shipments have stopped they 
will be actively against us. Adam plans to have the majority committed to 
us at the time the announcement is made." 

"How long? One year? Two?" 

"Two days, three days, perhaps four. Carefully edited excerpts from 
that five-year plan, excerpts from the recordings you've made-especially 
that yellow-dog of fer--exploitation of your arrest in Kentucky--" 

"Hey! I'd rather forget that." 

Prof smiled and cocked an eyebrow. "Uh--" I said uncomfortably. 
"Okay. If will help." 

"It will help more than any statistics about natural resources." 

Wired-up ex-human piloting us went in as one maneuver without 
bothering to orbit and gave us even heavier beating; ship was light and 
lively. But change in motion is under two-and-a-half kilometers; was over 
in nineteen seconds and we were down at Johnson City. I took it right, 
just a terrible constriction in chest and a feeling as if giant were 
squeezing heart, then was over and I was gasping back to normal and glad 
to be proper weight. But did almost kill poor old Prof. 

Mike told me later that pilot refused to surrender control; Mike 
would have brought ship down in a low-gee, no-breakum-egg, knowing Prof 
was aboard. But perhaps that Cyborg knew what he was doing; a low-gee 
landing wastes mass and Lotus-Lark grounded almost dry. 

None of which we cared about, as looked as if that Garrison landing 
had wasted Prof. Stu saw it while I was still gasping, then we were both 
at him--heart stimulant, manual respiration, massage. At last he 
fluttered eyelids, looked at us, smiled. "Home," he whispered. 

We made him rest twenty minutes before we let him suit up to leave 
ship; had been as near dead as can be and not hear angels. Skipper was 
filling tanks, anxious to get rid of us and take on passengers--that 
Dutchman never spoke to us whole trip; think he regretted letting money 
talk him into a trip that could ruin or kill him. 

By then Wyoh was inside ship, p-suited to come meet us. Don't think 
Stu had ever seen her in a p-suit and certain he had never seen her as a 
blonde; did not recognize. I was hugging her in spite of p-suit; he was 
standing by, waiting to be introduced. Then strange "man" in p-suit 
hugged him--he was surprised. 

Heard Wyoh's muffled voice: "Oh heavens! Mannie, my helmet." 

I unclamped it, lifted off. She shook curls and grinned. "Stu, 
aren't you glad to see me? Don't you know me?" 

A grin spread over his face, slowly as dawn across maria. 

"Zdra ' stvooeet ' ye, Gospazha! I am most happy to see you." 

"'Gospazha' indeed! I'm Wyoh to you, dear, always. Didn't Mannie 
tell you I'd gone back to blonde?" 

"Yes, he did. But knowing it and seeing are not the same." 

"You'll get used to it." She stopped to bend over Prof, kiss him, 
giggle at him, then straightened up and gave me a no-helmet welcome-home 
that left us both with tears despite pesky suit. Then turned again to 
Stu, started to kiss him. 

He held back a little. She stopped. "Stu, am I going to have to put 
on brown makeup to welcome you?" Stu glanced at me, then kissed her. Wyoh 
put in as much time and thought as she had to welcoming me. 

Was later I figured out his odd behavior. Stu, despite commitment, 
was still not a Loonie--and in meantime Wyoh had married. What's that got 

to do with it? Well, Earthside it makes a difference, and Stu did not 
know deep down in bones that a Loonie lady is own mistress. Poor chum 
thought I might take offense! 

We got Prof into suit, ourselves same, and left, me with cannon 
under arm. Once underground and locked through, we unsuited--and I was 
flattered to see that Wyoh was wearing crushed under p-suit that red 
dress I bought her ages ago. She brushed it and skirt flared out. 

Immigration room was empty save for about forty men lined up along 
wall like new transportees ; were wearing p-suits and carrying helmets-- 
Terrans going home, stranded tourists and some scientists. Their p-suits 
would not go, would be unloaded before lift. I looked at them and thought 
about Cyborg pilot. When Lark had been stripped, all but three couches 
had been removed; these people were going to take acceleration lying on 
f loorplates--if skipper was not careful he was going to have mashed 
Terrans au blut. 

Mentioned to Stu. "Forget it," he said. "Captain Leures has foam 
pads aboard. He won't let them be hurt; they're his life insurance." 


My family, all thirty-odd from Grandpaw to babies, was waiting beyond 
next lock on level he! ow and we got cried on and slobbered on and hugged 
and this time Stu did not hold back. Little Hazel made ceremony of 
kissing us; she had Liberty Caps, set one on each, then kissed us--and at 
that signal whole family put on Liberty Caps, and I got sudden tears. 
Perhaps is what patriotism feels like, choked up and so happy it hurts. 

Or maybe was just being with my beloveds again. 

"Where's Slim?" I asked Hazel. "Wasn't he invited?" 

"Couldn't come. He's junior marshal of your reception." 

"Reception? This is all we want." 

"You'll see . " 

Did. Good thing family came out to meet us; that and ride to L-City 
(filled a capsule) were all I saw of them for some time. Tube Station 
West was a howling mob, all in Liberty Caps. We three were carried on 
shoulders all way to Old Dome, surrounded by a stilyagi bodyguard, elbows 
locked to force through cheering, singing crowds . Boys were wearing red 
caps and white shirts and their girls wore white jumpers and red shorts 
color of caps . 

At station and again when they put us down in Old Dome I got kissed 
by ferns I have never seen before or since. Remember hoping that measures 
we had taken in lieu of quarantine were ef fective--or half of L-City 
would be down with colds or worse. (Apparently we were clean; was no 
epidemic. But I remember time--was quite small--when measles got loose 
and thousands died. ) 

Worried about Prof, too; reception was too rough for a man good as 
dead an hour earlier. But he not only enjoyed it, he made a wonderful 
speech in Old Dome--one short on logic, loaded with ringing phrases. 
"Love" was in it, and "home" and "Luna" and "comrades and neighbors" and 
even "shoulder to shoulder" and all sounded good. 

They had erected a platform under big news video on south face. 

Adam Selene greeted us from video screen and now Prof's face and voice 
were projected from it, much magnified, over his head--did not have to 
shout. But did have to pause after every sentence; crowd roars drowned 
out even bull voice from screen--and no doubt pauses helped, as rest. But 
Prof no longer seemed old, tired, ill; being back inside The Rock seemed 
to be tonic he needed. And me, too! Was wonderful to be right weight, 
feel strong, breathe pure, replenished air of own city. 

No mean city! Impossible to get all of L-City inside Old Dome--but 
looked as if they tried. I estimated an area ten meters square, tried to 
count heads, got over two hundred not half through and gave up. Lunatic 
placed crowd at thirty thousand, seems impossible. 

Prof's words reached more nearly three million; video carried scene 
to those who could not crowd into Old Dome, cable and relay flashed it 
across lonely maria to all warrens. He grabbed chance to tell of slave 
future Authority planned for them. Waved that "white paper." 

"Here it is!" he cried. "Your fetters! Your leg irons! Will you 
wear them?" 

"NO! " 

"They say you must. They say they will H-bomb... then survivors 
will surrender and put on these chains. Will you?" 


"Never," agreed Prof. "They threaten to send troops... more and 
more troops to rape and murder. We shall fight them." 

"DA! " 

"We shall fight them on the surface, we shall fight them in the 
tubes, we shall fight them in the corridors! If die we must, we shall die 
free ! " 

"Yes! Ja-da! Tell 'em, tell 'em!" 

"And if we die, let history write: This was Luna's finest hour! 

Give us liberty... or give us death!" 

Some of that sounded familiar. But his words came out fresh and 
new; I joined in roars. Look... I knew we couldn't whip Terra— I'm tech 
by trade and know that an H-missile doesn't care how brave you are. But 
was ready, too. If they wanted a fight, let's have it! 

Prof let them roar, then led them in "Battle Hymn of the Republic, " 
Simon's version. Adam appeared on screen again, took over leading it and 
sang with them, and we tried to slip away, off back of platform, with 
help of stilyagi led by Slim. But women didn't want to let us go and lads 
aren't at their best in trying to stop ladies; they broke through. Was 
twenty-two hundred before we four, Wyoh, Prof, Stu, self, were locked in 
room L of Raffles, where Adam-Mike joined us by video. I was starved by 
then, all were, so I ordered dinner and Prof insisted that we eat before 
reviewing plans . 

Then we got down to business. 

Adam started by asking me to read aloud white paper, for his 
benefit and for Comrade Wyoming--"But first, Comrade Manuel, if you have 
the recordings you made Earthside, could you transmit them by phone at 
high speed to my office? I'll have them transcribed for study-all I have 
so far are the coded summaries Comrade Stuart sent up." 

I did so, knowing Mike would study them at once, phrasing was part 
of "Adam Selene" myth— and decided to talk to Prof about letting Stu in 
on facts. If Stu was to be in executive cell, pretending was too clumsy. 

Feeding recordings into Mike at overspeed took five minutes, 
reading aloud another thirty. That done, Adam said, "Professor, the 
reception was more successful than I had counted on, due to your speech. 

I think we should push the embargo through Congress at once. I can send 
out a call tonight for a session at noon tomorrow. Comments?" 

I said, "Look, those yammerheads will kick it around for weeks. If 
you must put it up to them--can't see why--do as you did with 
Declaration. Start late, jam it through after midnight using own people." 

Adam said, "Sorry, Manuel. I'm getting caught up on events 
Earthside and you have catching up to do here. It's no longer the same 
group. Comrade Wyoming?" 

"Mannie dear, it's an elected Congress now. They must pass it. 
Congress is what government we have." 

I said slowly, "You held election and turned things over to them? 
Everything? Then what are we doing?" Looked at Prof, expecting explosion. 
My objections would not be on his grounds--but couldn't see any use in 
swapping one talk-talk for another. At least first group had been so 
loose we could pack it--this new group would be glued to seats. 

Prof was undisturbed. Fitted fingertips together and looked 
relaxed. "Manuel, I don't think the situation is as bad as you seem to 
feel that it is. In each age it is necessary to adapt to the popular 
mythology. At one time kings were anointed by Deity, so the problem was 
to see to it that Deity anointed the tight candidate. In this age the 
myth is 'the will of the people' . . . but the problem changes only 
superficially. Comrade Adam and I have had long discussions about how to 
determine the will of the people. I venture to suggest that this solution 
is one we can work with." 

"Well... okay. But why weren't we told? Stu, did you know?" 

"No, Mannie. There was no reason to tell me." He shrugged. "I'm a 
monarchist, I wouldn't have been interested. But I go along with Prof 
that in this day and age elections are a necessary ritual." 

Prof said, "Manuel, it wasn't necessary to tell us till we got 
back; you and I had other work to do. Comrade Adam and dear Comrade 
Wyoming handled it in our absence... so let's find out what they did 
before we judge what they've done." 

"Sorry. Well, Wyoh?" 

"Mannie, we didn't leave everything to chance. Adam and I decided 
that a Congress of three hundred would be about right. Then we spent 
hours going over the Party lists--plus prominent people not in the Party. 
At last we had a list of candidates--a list that included some from the 
Ad-Hoc Congress; not all were yammerheads, we included as many as we 
could. Then Adam phoned each one and asked him--or her--if he would 
serve... binding him to secrecy in the meantime. Some we had to replace. 

"When we were ready, Adam spoke on video, announced that it was 
time to carry out the Party's pledge of free elections, set a date, said 
that everybody over sixteen could vote, and that all anyone had to do to 
be a candidate was to get a hundred chops on a nominating petition and 
post it in Old Dome, or the public notice place for his warren. Oh, yes, 
thirty temporary election districts, ten Congressmen from each district-- 
that let all but the smallest warrens be at least one district." 

"So you had it lined up and Party ticket went through?" 

"Oh, no, dear! There wasn't any Party ticket--of f icially . But we 
were ready with our candidates... and I must say my stilyagi did a smart 
job getting chops on nominations; our optings were posted the first day. 

Many other people posted; there were over two thousand candidates. But 
there was only ten days from announcement to election, and we knew what 
we wanted whereas the opposition was split up. It wasn't necessary for 
Adam to come out publicly and endorse candidates. It worked out--you won 
by seven thousand votes, dear, while your nearest rival got less than a 
thousand. " 

"I won?" 

"You won, I won. Professor won. Comrade Clayton won, and just about 
everybody we thought should be in the Congress. It wasn't hard. Although 
Adam never endorsed anayone, I didn't hesitate to let our comrades know 
who was favored. Simon poked his finger in, too. And we do have good 
connections with newspapers. I wish you had been here election night, 
watching the results. Exciting!" 

"How did you go about nose counting? Never known how election 
works. Write names on a piece of paper?" 

"Oh, no, we used a better system... because, after all, some of our 
best people can't write. We used banks for voting places, with bank 
clerks identifying customers and customers identifying members of their 
families and neighbors who don't have bank accounts--and people voted 
orally and the clerks punched the votes into the banks' computers with 
the voter watching, and results were all tallied at once in Luna City 
clearinghouse. We voted everybody in less than three hours and results 
were printed out just minutes after voting stopped." 

Suddenly a light came on in my skull and I decided to question Wyoh 
privately. No, not Wyoh--Mike. Get past his "Adam Selene" dignity and 
hammer truth out of his neuristors. Recalled a cheque ten million dollars 
too large and wondered how many had voted for me? Seven thousand? Seven 
hundred? Or just my family and friends? 

But no longer worried about new Congress. Prof had not slipped them 
a cold deck but one that was frozen solid--then ducked Earthside while 
crime was committed. No use asking Wyoh; she didn't even need to know 
what Mike had done... and could do her part better if did not suspect. 

Nor would anybody suspect. If was one thing all people took for 
granted, was conviction that if you feed honest figures into a computer, 
honest figures come out. Never doubted it myself till met a computer with 
sense of humor. 

Changed mind about suggesting that Stu be let in on Mike's self- 
awareness. Three was two too many. Or perhaps three. "Mi--" I started to 
say, and changed to: "My word! Sounds efficient. How big did we win?" 

Adam answered without expression. "Eighty-six percent of our 
candidates were successful--approximately what I had expected." 

("Approximately," my false left arm! Exactly what expected, Mike 
old ironmongery!) "Withdraw objection to a noon session--I ' 11 be there." 

"It seems to me," said Stu, "assuming that the embargo starts at 
once, we will need something to maintain the enthusiasm we witnessed 
tonight. Or there will be a long quiet period of increasing economic 
depression-- from the embargo, I mean--and growing disillusionment. Adam, 
you first impressed me through your ability to make shrewd guesses as to 
future events. Do my misgivings make sense?" 

"They do . " 


Adam looked at us in turn, and was almost impossible to believe 
that this was a false image and Mike was simply placing us through 

binaural receptors. "Comrades... it must be turned into open war as 
quickly as possible." 

Nobody said anything. One thing to talk about war, another to face 
up to it. At last I sighed and said, "When do we start throwing rocks?" 

"We do not start," Adam answered. "They must throw the first one. 
How do we antagonize them into doing so? I will reserve my thoughts to 
the last. Comrade Manuel?" 

"Uh. . . don't look at me. Way I feel, would start with a nice big 
rock smack on Agra--a bloke there who is a waste of space. But is not 
what you are after." 

"No, it is not," Adam answered seriously. "You would not only anger 
the entire Hindu nation, a people intensely opposed to destruction of 
life, but you would also anger and shock people throughout Earth by 
destroying the Taj Mahal . " 

"Including me," said Prof. "Don't talk dirty, Manuel." 

"Look," I said, "didn't say to do it. Anyhow, could miss Taj." 

"Manuel," said Prof, "as Adam pointed out, our strategy must be to 
antagonize them into striking the first blow, the classic 'Pearl Harbor' 
maneuver of game theory, a great advantage in Weltpolitick . The question 
is how? Adam, I suggest that what is needed is to plant the idea that we 
are weak and divided and that all it takes is a show of force to bring us 
back into line. Stu? Your people Earthside should be useful. Suppose the 
Congress repudiated myself and Manuel? The effect?" 

"Oh, no!" said Wyoh. 

"Oh, yes, dear Wyoh. Not necessary to do it but simply to put it 
over news channels to Earth. Perhaps still better to put it out over a 
clandestine beam attributed to the Terran scientists still with us while 
our official channels display the classic stigmata of tight censorship. 

"I'm noting it as a tactic which probably will be included in the 
strategy. But it will not be sufficient alone. We must be bombed." 

"Adam, " said Wyoh, "why do you say so? Even if Luna City can stand 
up under their biggest bombs--something I hope never to find out--we know 
that Luna can't win an all-out war. You've said so, many times. Isn't 
there some way to work it so that they will just plain leave us alone?" 

Adam pulled at right cheek--and I thought: Mike, if you don't knock 
off play-acting, you'll have me believing in you myself! Was annoyed at 
him and looked forward to a talk--one in which I would not have to defer 
to "Chairman Selene." 

"Comrade Wyoming," he said soberly, "it's a matter of game theory 
in a complex non-zero-sum game. We have certain resources or 'pieces in 
the game' and many possible moves. Our opponents have much larger 
resources and a far larger spectrum of responses. Our problem is to 
manipulate the game so that our strength is utilized toward an optimax 
solution while inducing them to waste their superior strength and to 
refrain from using it at maximum. Timing is of the essence and a gambit 
is necessary to start a chain of events favorable to our strategy. I 
realize this is not clear. I could put the factors through a computer and 
show you. Or you can accept the conclusion. Or you can use your own 
j udgment . " 

He was reminding Wyoh (under Stu's nose) that he was not Adam 
Selene but Mike, our dinkum thinkum who could handle so complex a problem 
because he was a computer and smartest one anywhere. 

Wyoh backtracked. "No, no," she said, "I wouldn't understand the 
maths. Okay, it has to be done. How do we do it?" 

Was four hundred before we had a plan that suited Prof and Stu as 
well as Adam— or took that long for Mike to sell his plan while appearing 
to pull ideas out of rest of us. Or was it Prof's plan with Adam Selene 
as salesman? 

In any case we had a plan and calendar, one that grew out of master 
strategy of Tuesday 14 May 2075 and varied from it only to match events 
as they actually had occurred. In essence it called for us to behave as 
nastily as possible while strengthening impression that we would be 
awfully easy to spank. 

Was at Community Hall at noon, after too little sleep, and found I 
could have slept two hours longer; Congressmen from Hong Kong could not 
make it that early despite tube all way. Wyoh did not bang gavel until 
f ourteen- thirty . 

Yes, my bride wife was chairman pro tern in a body not yet 
organized. Parliamentary rulings seemed to come naturally to her, and she 
was not a bad choice; a mob of Loonies behaves better when a lady bangs 
gavel . 

Not going to detail what new Congress did and said that session and 
later; minutes are available. I showed up only when necessary and never 
bothered to learn talk-talk rules--seemed to be equal parts common 
politeness and ways in which chairman could invoke magic to do it his 
(her) way. 

No sooner had Wyoh banged them to order but a cobber jumped up and 
said, "Gospazha Chairmah, move we suspend rules and hear from Comrade 
Professor de la Paz! "--which brought a whoop of approval. 

Wyoh banged again. "Motion is out of order and Member from Lower 
Churchill will be seated. This house recessed without adjourning and 
Chairman of Committee on Permanent Organization, Resolutions, and 
Government Structure still has the floor." 

Turned out to be Wolfgang Korsakov, Member from Tycho Under (and a 
member of Prof's cell and our number-one finagler of LuNoHoCo) and he not 
only had floor, he had it all day, yielding time as he saw fit (1. e., 
picking out whom he wanted to speak rather than letting just anyone 
talk) . But nobody was too irked; this mob seemed satisfied with 
leadership. Were noisy but not unruly. 

By dinnertime Luna had a government to replace co-opted provisional 
government--!, e., dummy government we had opted ourselves, which sent 
Prof and me to Earth. Congress confirmed all acts of provisional 
government, thus putting face on what we had done, thanked outgoing 
government for services and instructed Wolfgang's committee to continue 
work on permanent government structure. 

Prof was elected President of Congress and ex-officio Prime 
Minister of interim government until we acquired a constitution. He 
protested age and health. .. then said would serve if could have certain 
things to help him; too old and too exhausted from trip Earthside to have 
responsibility of presiding--except on occasions of state--so he wanted 
Congress to elect a Speaker and Speaker Pro Tern. . . and besides that, he 
felt that Congress should augment its numbers by not more than ten 
percent by itself electing members-at-large so that Prime Minister, 
whoever he might be, could opt cabinet members or ministers of state who 
might not now be members of Congress-especially ministers-without- 
portfolio to take load off his shoulders. 

They balked. Most were proud of being "Congressmen" and already 
jealous of status. But Prof just sat looking tired, and waited--and 
somebody pointed out that it still left control in hands of Congress. So 
they gave him what he asked for. 

Then somebody squeezed in a speech by making it a question to 
Chair. Everybody knew (he said) that Adam Selene had refrained from 
standing for Congress on grounds that Chairman of Emergency Committee 
should not take advantage of position to elbow way into new government... 
but could Honorable Chairlady tell member whether was any reason not 
elect Adam Selene a member-at-large? As gesture of appreciation for great 
services? To let all Luna--yes, and all those earthworms, especially ex- 
Lunar ex-Authority--know that we not repudiating Adam Selene, on contrary 
he was our beloved elder statesman and was not President simply because 
he chose not to be ! 

More whoops that went on and on. You can find in minutes who made 
that speech but one gets you ten Prof wrote it and Wyoh planted it. 

Here is how it wound up over course of days: Prime Minister and 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: Professor Bernardo de la Paz. 

Speaker, Finn Nielsen; Speaker Pro Tern, Wyoming Davis. 

Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of 
Defense, General O'Kelly Davis; Minister of Information, Terence Sheehan 
(Sheenie turned Pravda over to managing editor to work with Adam and 
Stu) ; Special Minister-without-Portfolio in Ministry of Information, 
Stuart Rene LaJoie, Congressman-at-Large; Secretary of State for 
Economics and Finance (and Custodian of Enemy Property) , Wolfgang 
Korsakov; Minister of Interior Affairs and Safety, Comrade "Clayton" 
Watenabe; Minter-without-Portfolio and Special Advisor to Prime Minister, 
Adam Selene--plus a dozen ministers and ministers-without-portfolio from 
warrens other than Luna City. 

See where that left things? Brush away fancy titles and B cell was 
still running things as advised by Mike, backed by a Congress in which we 
could not lose a test vote--but did lose others we did not want to win, 
or did not care about. 

But at time could not see sense in all that talk-talk. 

During evening session Prof reported on trip and then yielded to 
me--Committee Chairman Korsakov consenting--so that I could report what 
"five-year plan" meant and how Authority had tried to bribe me. I'll 
never make a speaker but had time during dinner break to swot speech Mike 
had written. He had slanted it so nastily that I got angry all over again 
and was angry when I spoke and managed to make it catching. Congress was 
ready to riot by time I sat down. 

Prof stepped forward, thin and pale, and said quietly, "Comrade 
Members, what shall we do? I suggest, Chairman Korsakov consenting, that 
we discuss informally how to treat this latest insolence to our nation." 

One member from Novylen wanted to declare war and they would have 
done so right then if Prof had not pointed out that they were still 
hearing committee reports . 

More talk, all bitter. At last Comrade Member Chang Jones spoke: 
"Fellow Congressmen--sorry, Gospodin Chairman Korsakov--I ' m a rice and 
wheat farmer. Mean I used to be, because back in May I got a bank loan 
and sons and I are converting to variety farming. We're broke--had to 
borrow tube fare to get here--but family is eating and someday we might 
pull square with bank. At least I'm no longer raising grain. 

"But others are. Catapult has never reduced headway by one barge 
whole time we've been free. We're still shipping, hoping their cheques 
will be worth something someday. 

"But now we know! They've told us what they mean to do with us — to 
us! I say only way to make those scoundrels know we mean business is stop 
shipments right now! Not another tonne, not a kilo... until they come 
here and dicker honestly for honest price!" 

Around midnight they passed Embargo, then adjourned subject to 
call... standing committees to continue. 

Wyoh and I went home and I got reacquainted with my family. Was 
nothing to do; Mike-Adam and Stu had been working on how to hit them with 
it Earthside and Mike had shut catapult down ("technical difficulties 
with ballistic computer") twenty-four hours earlier. Last barge in 
trajectory would be taken by Poona Ground Control in slightly over one 
day and Earth would be told, nastily, that was last they would ever get. 


Shock to farmers was eased by continuing to buy grain at catapult--but 
cheques now carried printed warning that Luna Free State did not stand 
behind them, did not warrant that Lunar Authority would ever redeem them 
even in Scrip, etc., etc. Some farmers left grain anyhow, some did not, 
all screamed. But was nothing they could do; catapult was shut down, 
loading belts not moving. 

Depression was not immediately felt in rest of economy. Defense 
regiments had depleted ranks of ice miners so much that selling ice on 
free market was profitable; LuNoHoCo steel subsidiary was hiring every 
able-bodied man it could find, and Wolfgang Korsakov was ready with paper 
money, "National Dollars, " printed to resemble Hong Kong dollar and in 
theory pegged to it. Luna had plenty of food, plenty of work, plenty of 
money; people were not hurting, "beer, betting, women, and work" went on 
as usual . 

"Nationals," as they were called, were inflation money, war money, 
fiat money, and were discounted a fraction of a percent on day of first 
issue, concealed as "exchange service charge." They were spendable money 
and never did drop to zero but were inflationary and exchange reflected 
it increasingly; new government was spending money it did not have. 

But that was later--Challenge to Earth, to Authority and Federated 
Nations, was made intentionally nasty. F. N. vessels were ordered to stay 
clear of Luna by ten diameters and not orbit at any distance under pain 
of being destroyed without warning. (No mention of how, since we could 
not.) Vessels of private registry would be permitted to land if a) 
permission was requested ahead of time with ballistic plan, b) a vessel 
thus cleared placed itself under Luna Ground Control (Mike') at a 
distance of one hundred thousand kilometers while following approved 
trajectory, and c) was unarmed save for three hand guns permitted three 
officers. Last was to be confirmed by inspection on landing before 
anybody was allowed to leave ship and before ship was serviced with fuel 
and/or reaction mass; violation would mean confiscation of ship. No 

person allowed to land at Luna other than ship's crew in connection with 
loading, unloading, or servicing save citizens of Terran countries who 
had recognized Free Luna. (Only Chad--and Chad had no ships. Prof 
expected some private vessels to be re-registered under Chad merchant 
flag . ) 

Manifesto noted that Terran scientists still in Luna could return 
home in any vessel which conformed to our requirements. It invited all 
freedom-loving Terran nations to denounce wrongs done us and which the 
Authority planned against us, recognize us, and enjoy free trade and full 
intercourse--and pointed out that there were no tariffs or any artificial 
restrictions against trade in Luna, and was policy of Luna government to 
keep it that way. We invited immigration, unlimited, and pointed out that 
we had a labor shortage and any immigrant could be self-supporting at 
once . 

We also boasted of food--adult consumption over four thousand 
calories per day, high in protein, low in cost, no rationing. (Stu had 
Adam-Mike stick in price of 100-proof vodka--fifty cents HKL per liter, 
less in quantity, no taxes. Since this was less than one-tenth retail 
price of 80-proof vodka in North America, Stu knew it would hit home. 
Adam, "by nature" a teetotaler, hadn't thought of it--one of Mike's few 
oversights . ) 

Lunar Authority was invited to gather at one spot well away from 
other people, say in unirrigated part of Sahara, and receive one last 
barge of grain f ree--straight down at terminal velocity. This was 
followed by a snotty lecture which implied that we were prepared to do 
same to anyone who threatened our peace, there being a number of loaded 
barges at catapult head, ready for such unceremonious delivery. 

Then we waited. 

But we waited busily. Were indeed a few loaded barges; these we 
unloaded and reloaded with rock, with changes made in guidance 
transponders so that Poona Control could not affect them. Their retros 
were removed, leaving only lateral thrustors, and spare retros were taken 
to new catapult, to be modified for lateral guidance. Greatest effort 
went into moving steel to new catapult and shaping it into jackets for 
solid rock cylinders--steel was bottleneck. 

Two days after our manifesto a "clandestine" radio started beaming 
to Terra. Was weak and tended to fade and was supposed to be concealed, 
presumably in a crater, and could be worked only certain hours until 
brave Terran scientists managed to rig automatic repeat. Was near 
frequency of Voice of Free Luna, which tended to drown it out with brassy 
boasts . 

(Terrans remaining in Luna had no chance to make signals. Those who 
had chosen to stick with research were chaperoned by stilyagi every 
instant and locked into barracks to sleep.) 

But "clandestine" station managed to get "truth" to Terra. Prof had 
been tried for deviationism and was under house arrest. I had been 
executed for treason. Hong Kong Luna had pulled out, declared self 
separately independent... might be open to reason. Rioting in Novylen. 

All food growing had been collectivized and black-market eggs were 
selling for three dollars apiece in Lana City. Battalions of female 
troops were being enlisted, each sworn to kill at least one Terran, and 
were drilling with fake guns in corridors of Luna City. 

Last was an almost-true. Many ladies wanted to do something 
militant and had formed a Home Defense Guard, "Ladies from Hades." But 

their drills were of a practical nature— and Hazel was sulking because 
Mum had not allowed her to join. Then she got over sulks and started 
"Stilyagi Debs," a very junior home guard which drilled after school 
hours, did not use weapons, concentrated on backing up stilyagi air & 
pressure corps, and practiced first aid—and own no-weapons fighting, 
which—possibly—Mum never learned. 

I don't know how much to tell. Can't tell all, but stuff in history 
books is so wrong! 

I was no better a "defense minister" than "congressman." Not 
apologizing, had no training for either. Revolution is an amateur thing 
for almost everybody; Prof was only one who seemed to know what he was 
doing, and, at that, was new to him, too — he had never taken part in a 
successful revolution or ever been part of a government, much less head. 

As Minister of Defense I could not see many ways to defend except 
for steps already taken; that is, stilyagi air squads in warrens and 
laser gunners around ballistic radars. If F. N. decided to bomb, didn't 
see any way to stop them; wasn't an interception missile in all Luna and 
that's not a gadget you whomp up from bits and pieces. My word, we 
couldn't even make fusion weapons with which such a rocket is tipped. 

But I went through motions. Asked same Chinee engineers who had 
built laser guns to take a crack at problem of intercepting bombs or 
missiles—one same problem save that a missile comes at you faster. 

Then turned attention to other things. Simply hoped that F. N. 
would never bomb warrens. Some warrens, L-City in particular, were so 
deep down that they could probably stand direct hits. One cubic, lowest 
level of Complex where central part of Mike lived, had been designed to 
withstand bombing. On other hand Tycho Under was a big natural bubble 
cave like Old Dome and roof was only meters thick; sealer on under side 
is kept warm with hot water pipes to make sure new cracks sealed—would 
not take much of a bomb to crack Tycho Under. 

But is no limit to how big a fusion bomb can be; F. N. could build 

one big enough to smash L-City or theoretically even a Doomsday job 

that would split Luna like a melon and finish job some asteroid started 
at Tycho. If they did, couldn't see any way to stop them, so didn't 
worry . 

Instead put time on problems I could manage, helping at new 
catapult, trying to work up better aiming arrangements for laser drills 
around radars (and trying to get drillmen to stick; half of them quit 
once price of ice went up) , trying to arrange decentralized standby 
engineering controls for all warrens. Mike did designing on this, we 
grabbed every general-purpose computer we could find (paying in 
"nationals" with ink barely dry), and I turned job over to McIntyre, 
former chief engineer for Authority; was a job within his talents and I 
couldn't do all rewiring and so forth, even if had tried. 

Held out biggest computer, one that did accounting for Bank of Hong 
Kong in Luna and also was clearinghouse there. Looked over its 
instruction manuals and decided was a smart computer for one that could 
not talk, so asked Mike if he could teach it ballistics? We made 
temporary link-ups to let two machines get acquainted and Mike reported 
it could learn simple job we wanted it for--standby for new catapult — 
although Mike would not care to ride in ship controlled by it; was too 
matter-of-fact and uncritical. Stupid, really. 

Well, didn't want it to whistle tunes or crack jokes; just wanted 
it to shove loads out a catapult at right millisecond and at correct 
velocity, then watch load approach Terra and give a nudge. 

HK Bank was not anxious to sell. But we had patriots on their 
board, we promised to return it when emergency was over, and moved it to 
new site--by rolligon, too big for tubes, and took all one dark semi- 
lunar. Had to jerry-rig a big airlock to get it out of Kong warren. I 
hooked it to Mike again and he undertook to teach art of ballistics 
against possibility that his linkage to new site might be cut in an 
attack . 

(You know what bank used to replace computer? Two hundred clerks 
working abacuses. Abacusi? You know, slipsticks with beads, oldest 
digital computer, so far back in prehistory that nobody knows who 
invented. Russki and Chinee and Nips have always used them, and small 
shops today.) 

Trying to improve laser drills into space-defense weapons was 
easier but less straightforward. We had to leave them mounted on original 
cradles; was neither time, steel, nor metalsmiths to start fresh. So we 
concentrated on better aiming arrangements. Call went out for telescopes. 
Scarce--what con fetches along a spyglass when transported? What market 
later to create supply? Surveying instruments and helmet binoculars were 
all we turned up, plus optical instruments confiscated in Terran labs. 

But we managed to equip drills with low-power big-field sights to coach- 
on with and high-power scopes for fine sighting, plus train and elevation 
circles and phones so that Mike could tell them where to point. Four 
drills we equipped with self-synchronous repeater drives so that Mike 
could control them himself--liberated these selsyns at Richardson; 
astronomers used them for Bausch cameras and Schmidts in sky mapping. 

But big problem was men. Wasn't money, we kept upping wages. No, a 
drillman likes to work or wouldn't be in that trade. Standing by in a 
ready room day after day, waiting for alert that always turns out to be 
just another practice--drove 'em crackers. They quit. One day in 
September I pulled an alert and got only seven drills manned. 

Talked it over with Wyoh and Sidris that night. Next day Wyoh 
wanted to know if Prof and I would okay bolshoi expense money? They 
formed something Wyoh named "Lysistrata Corps." Never inquired into 
duties or cost, because next time I inspected a ready room found three 
girls and no shortage of drillmen. Girls were in uniform of Second 
Defense Gunners just as men were (drillmen hadn't bothered much with 
authorized uniform up to then) and one girl was wearing sargeant's 
stripes with gun captain's badge. 

I made that inspection very short. Most girls don't have muscle to 
be a drillman and I doubted if this girl could wrestle a drill well 
enough to justify that badge. But regular gun captain was on job, was no 
harm in girls learning to handle lasers, morale was obviously high; I 
gave matter no more worry. 

Prof underrated his new Congress. Am sure he never wanted anything 
but a body which would rubberchop what we were doing and thereby do make 
it "voice of people." But fact that new Congressmen were not yammerheads 
resulted in them doing more than Prof intended. Especially Committee on 
Permanent Organization, Resolutions, and Government Structure. 

Got out of hand because we were all trying to do too much. 

Permanent heads of Congress were Prof, Finn Nielsen, and Wyoh. Prof 
showed up only when he wanted to speak to them--seldom . He spent time 

with Mike on plans and analysis (odds shortened to one in five during 
September '76), time with Stu and Sheenie Sheehan on propaganda, 
controlling official news to Earthside, very different "news" that went 
via "clandestine" radio, and reslanting news that came up from Earthside. 
Besides that he had finger in everything; I reported whim once a day, and 
all ministries both real and dummy did same. 

I kept Finn Nielsen busy; he was my "Commander of Armed Forces." He 
had his laser gun infantry to supervise — six men with captured weapons on 
day we nabbed warden, now eight hundred scattered all through Luna and 
armed with Kongville monkey copies. Besides that, Wyoh's organizations, 
Stilyagi Air Corps, Stilyagi Debs, Ladies from Hades, Irregulars (kept 
for morale and renamed Peter Pan's Pirates), and Lysistrata Corps--all 
these halfway-military groups reported through Wyoh to Finn. I shoved it 
onto him; I had other problems, such as trying to be a computer mechanic 
as well as a "statesman" when jobs such as installing that computer at 
new catapult site had to be done. 

Besides which, I am not an executive and Finn had talent for it. I 
shoved First and Second Defense Gunners under him, too. But first I 
decided that these two skeleton regiments were a "brigade" and made Judge 
Brody a "brigadier." Brody knew as much about military matters as I did-- 
zero--but was widely known, highly respected, had unlimited hard sense-- 
and had been drillman before he lost leg. Finn was not drillman, so 
couldn't be placed directly over them; They wouldn't have listened. I 
thought about using my co-husband Greg. But Greg was needed at Mare 
Undarum catapult, was only mechanic who had followed every phase of 
construction . 

Wyoh helped Prof, helped Stu, had her own organizations, I made 
trips out to Mare Undarum--and had little time to preside over Congress; 
task fell on senior committee chairman. Wolf Korsakov... who was busier 
than any of us; LuNoHoCo was running everything Authority used to run and 
many new things as well. 

Wolf had a good committee; Prof should have kept closer eye on it. 
Wolf had caused his boss, Moshai Baum, to be elected vice-chairman and 
had in all seriousness outlined for his committee problem of determining 
what permanent government should be. Then Wolf had turned back on it. 

Those busy laddies split up and did it--studied forms of government 
in Carnegie Library, held subcommittee meetings, three or four people at 
a time (few enough to worry Prof had he known) --and when Congress met 
early in September to ratify some appointments and elect more 
congressmen-at-large, instead of adjourning. Comrade Baum had gavel and 
they recessed--and met again and turned selves into committee-of-the- 
whole and passed a resolution and next thing we knew entire Congress was 
a Constitutional Convention divided into working groups headed by those 
subcommittees . 

I think Prof was shocked. But he couldn't undo it, had all been 
proper under rules he himself had written. But he rolled with punch, went 
to Novylen (where Congress now met--more central) and spoke to them with 
usual good nature and simply cast doubts on what they were doing rather 
than telling them flatly they were wrong. 

After gracefully thanking them he started picking early drafts to 
pieces: "Comrade Members, like fire and fusion, government is a dangerous 
servant and a terrible master. You now have freedom--if you can keep it. 
But do remember that you can lose this freedom more quickly to yourselves 
than to any other tyrant. Move slowly, be hesitant, puzzle out the 

consequences of every word. I would not be unhappy if this convention sat 
for ten years before reporting--but I would be frightened if you took 
less than a year. 

"Distrust the obvious, suspect the traditional. . . for in the past 
mankind has not done well when saddling itself with governments. For 
example, I note in one draft report a proposal for setting up a 
commission to divide Luna into congressional districts and to reapportion 
them from time to time according to population. 

"This is the traditional way; therefore it should be suspect, 
considered guilty until proved innocent. Perhaps you feel that this is 
the only way. May I suggest others? Surely where a man lives is the least 
important thing about him. Constituencies might be formed by dividing 
people by occupation... or by age... or even alphabetically. Or they 

might not be divided, every member elected at large and do not object 

that this would make it impossible for any man not widely known 
throughout Luna to be elected; that might be the best possible thing for 
Luna . 

"You might even consider installing the candidates who receive the 
least number of votes; unpopular men may be just the sort to save you 
from a new tyranny. Don't reject the idea merely because it seems 
preposterous--think about it! In past history popularly elected 
governments have been no better and sometimes far worse than overt 
tyrannies . 

"But if representative government turns out to be your intention 
there still may be ways to achieve it better than the territorial 
district. For example you each represent about ten thousand human beings, 
perhaps seven thousand of voting age--and some of you were elected by 
slim majorities. Suppose instead of election a man were qualified for 
office by petition signed by four thousand citizens. He would then 
represent those four thousand affirmatively, with no disgruntled 
minority, for what would have been a minority in a territorial 
constituency would all be free to start other petitions or join in them. 
All would then be represented by men of their choice. Or a man with eight 
thousand supporters might have two votes in this body. Difficulties, 
objections, practical points to be worked out--many of them! But you 
could work them out... and thereby avoid the chronic sickness of 
representative government, the disgruntled minority which feels-- 
correctly ! -- that it has been disenfranchised. 

"But, whatever you do, do not let the past be a strait j acket ! 

"I note one proposal to make this Congress a two-house body. 
Excellent--the more impediments to legislation the better. But, instead 
of following tradition, I suggest one house legislators, another whose 
single duty is to repeal laws. Let legislators pass laws only with a two- 
thirds majority... while the repealers are able to cancel any law through 
a mere one-third minority. Preposterous? Think about it. If a bill is so 
poor that it cannot command two-thirds of your consents, is it not likely 
that it would make a poor law? And if a law is disliked by as many as 
one-third is it not likely that you would be better off without it? 

"But in writing your constitution let me invite attention the 
wonderful virtues of the negative! Accentuate the negative! Let your 
document be studded with things the government is forever forbidden to 
do. No conscript armies... no interference however slight with freedom of 
press, or speech, or travel, or assembly, or of religion, or of 
instruction, or communication, or occupation... no involuntary taxation. 

Comrades, if you were to spend five years in a study of history while 
thinking of more and more things that your governinen should promise 
never to do and then let your constitution be nothing but those 
negatives, I would not fear the outcome. 

"What I fear most are affirmative actions of sober and well- 
intentioned men, granting to government powers to do something that 
appears to need doing. Please remember always that the Lunar Authority 
was created for the noblest of purposes by just such sober and well- 
intentioned men, all popularly elected. And with that thought I leave you 
to your labors. Thank you." 

"Gospodin President! Question of information! You said 'no 
involuntary taxation ' --Then how do you expect us to pay for things? 
Tanstaaf 1 ! " 

"Goodness me, sir, that's your problem. I can think several ways. 
Voluntary contributions just as churches support themselves... 
government-sponsored lotteries to which no one need subscribe... or 
perhaps you Congressmen should dig down into your own pouches and pay for 
whatever is needed; that would be one way to keep government down in size 
to its indispensable functions whatever they may be. If indeed there are 
any. I would be satisfied to have the Golden Rule be the only law; I see 
no need for any other, nor for any method of enforcing it. But if you 
really believe that your neighbors must have laws for their own good, why 
shouldn't you pay for it? Comrades, I beg you--do not resort to 
compulsory taxation. There is so worse tyranny than to force a man to pay 
for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for 
him. " 

Prof bowed and left, Stu and I followed him. Once in an otherwise 
empty capsule I tackled him. "Prof, I liked much that you said... but 
about taxation aren't you talking one thing and doing another? Who do you 
think is going to pay for all this spending we're doing?" 

He was silent long moments, then said, "Manuel, my only ambition is 
to reach the day when I can stop pretending to be a chief executive." 

"Is no answer ! " 

"You have put your finger on the dilemma of all government--and the 
reason I am an anarchist. The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; 
it contains until it destroys. I was not joking when I told them to dig 
into their own pouches. It may not be possible to do away with 
government--sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease 
of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and 
inof f ensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the 
governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?" 

"Still doesn't say how to pay for what we are doing now." 

"'How, ' Manuel? You know how we are doing it. We're stealing it. 

I'm neither proud of it nor ashamed; it's the means we have. If they ever 
catch on, they may eliminate us--and that I am prepared to face. At 
least, in stealing, we have not created the villainous precedent of 
taxation . " 

"Prof. I hate to say this--" 

"Then why say it?" 

"Because, damn it, I'm in it as deeply as you are... and want to 
see that money paid back! Hate to say it but what you just said sounds 
like hypocrisy." 

He chuckled. "Dear Manuel! Has it taken you all these years to 
decide that I am a hypocrite?" 

"Then you admit it?' 

"No. But if it makes you feel better to think that I am one, you 
are welcome to use me as your scapegoat. But I am not a hypocrite to 
myself because I was aware the day we declared the Revolution that we 
would need much money and would have to steal it. It did not trouble me 
because I considered it better than food riots six years hence, 
cannibalism in eight. I made my choice and have no regrets." 

I shut up, silenced but not satisfied. Stu said, "Professor, I'm 
glad to hear that you are anxious to stop being President." 

"So? You share our comrade's misgivings?" 

"Only in part. Having been born to wealth, stealing doesn't fret me 
as much as it does him. No, but now that Congress has taken up the matter 
of a constitution I intend to find time to attend sessions. I plan to 
nominate you for King." 

Prof looked shocked. "Sir, if nominated, I shall repudiate it. If 
elected, I shall abdicate." 

"Don't be in a hurry. It might be the only way to get the sort of 
constitution you want. And that I want, too, with about your own mild 
lack of enthusiasm. You could be proclaimed King and the people would 
take you; we Loonies aren't wedded to a republic. They'd love the idea-- 
ritual and robes and a court and all that." 

"No! " 

"Ja da! When the time comes, you won't be able to refuse. Because 
we need a king and there isn't another candidate who would be accepted. 
Bernardo the First, King of Luna and Emperor of the Surrounding Spaces." 

"Stuart, I must ask you to stop. I'm becoming quite ill." 

"You'll get used to it. I 'm a royalist because I 'm a democrat. I 
shan't let your reluctance thwart the idea any more than you let stealing 
stop you . " 

I said, "Hold it, Stu. You say you're a royalist because you're a 
democrat? " 

"Of course. A king is the people's only protection against 
tyranny... especially against the worst of all tyrants, themselves. Prof 
will be ideal for the job... because he does not want the job. His only 
shortcoming is that he is a bachelor with no heir. We'll fix that. I'm 
going to name you as his heir. Crown Prince. His Royal Highness Prince 
Manuel de la Paz, Duke of Luna City, Admiral General of the Armed Forces 
and Protector of the Weak." 

I stared. Then buried face in hands. "Oh, Bog!" 

Book Three 


Monday 12 October 2076 about nineteen hundred I was headed home after a 
hard day of nonsense in our offices in Raffles. Delegation of grain 
farmers wanted to see Prof and I had been called back because he was in 

Hong Kong Luna. Was rude to them. Had been two months of embargo and F. 

N. had never done us favor of being sufficiently nasty. Mostly they had 
ignored us, made no reply to our claims--I suppose to do so would have 
been to recognize us. Stu and Sheenie and Prof had been hard put to slant 
news from Earthside to keep up a warlike spirit. 

At first everybody kept his p-suit handy. They wore them, helmets 
under arms, going to and from work in corridors. But that slacked off as 
days went by and did not seem to be any danger--p-suit is nuisance when 
you don't need it, so bulky. Presently taprooms began to display signs: 

NO P-SUITS INSIDE. If a Loonie can't stop for half a liter on way home 
because of p-suit, he'll leave it home or at station or wherever he needs 
it most. 

My word, had neglected matter myself that day--got this call to go 
back to office and was halfway there before I remembered. 

Had Just reached easement lock thirteen when I heard and felt a 
sound that scares a Loonie more than anything else— a chuff! in distance 
followed by a draft. Was into lock almost without undogging, then 
balanced pressures and through, dogged it behind me and ran for our home 
lock-through it and shouting: "P-suits, everybody! Get boys in from 
tunnels and close all airtight doors ! " 

Mum and Milla were only adults in sight. Both looked startled, got 
busy without a word. I burst into workshop, grabbed p-suit. "Mike! 

Answer ! " 

"I'm here, Man," he said calmly. 

"Heard explosive pressure drop. What's situation?" 

"That's level three, L-City. Rupture at Tube Station West, now 
partly controlled. Six ships landed, L-City under attack--" 


"Let me finish, Man. Six transports landed, L-City under attack by 
troops, Hong Kong inferred to be, phone lines broken at relay Bee Ell. 
Johnson City under attack; I have closed the armor doors between J-City 
and Complex Under. I cannot see Novylen but blip projection indicates it 
is under attack. Same for Churchill, Tycho Under. One ship in high 
ellipsoid over me, rising, inferred to be command ship. No other blips." 

"Six ships—where in hell were YOU?" 

He answered so calmly that I steadied down. "Farside approach, Man; 
I'm blind back there. They came in on tight Garrison didoes, skimming the 
peaks; I barely saw the chop-off for Luna City. The ship at J-City is the 
only one I can see; the other landings I conclusively infer from the 
ballistics shown by blip tracks. I heard the break-in at Tube West, L- 
City, and can now hear fighting in Novylen. The rest is conclusive 
inference, probability above point nine nine. I called you and Professor 
at once . " 

Caught breath. "Operation Hard Rock, Prepare to Execute." 

"Program ready. Man, not being able to reach you, I used your 
voice. Play back?" 

"Nyet— Yes ! Da!" 

Heard "myself" tell watch officer at old catapult head to go on red 
alert for "Hard Rock"--first load at launch, all others, on belts, 
everything cast loose, but do not launch until ordered by me personally— 
then launch to plan, full automatic. "I" made him repeat back. 

"Okay," I told Mike. "Drill gun crews?" 

"Your voice again. Manned, and then sent back to ready rooms. That 
command ship won't reach aposelenion for three hours four point seven 
minutes. No target for more than five hours." 

"He may maneuver. Or launch missiles." 

"Slow down, Man. Even a missile I'll see with minutes to spare. 

It's full bright lunar up there now--how much do you want the men to 
take? Unnecessarily." 

"Uh. . . sorry. Better let me talk to Greg." 

"Play back--" Heard "my" voice talking to my co-husband at Mare 
Undarum; "I" sounded tense but calm. Mike had given him situation, had 
told him to prepare Operation Little David's Sling, keep it on standby 
for full automatic. "I" had assured him that master computer would keep 
standby computer programmed, and shift would be made automatically if 
communication was broken. "I" also told him that he must take command and 
use own judgment if communication was lost and not restored after four 
hours--listen to Earthside radio and make up own mind. 

Greg had taken it quietly, repeated his orders, then had said, 
"Mannie, tell family I love them." 

Mike had done me proud; he had answered for me with just right 
embarrassed choke. "I'll do that, Greg--and look, Greg. I love you, too. 
You know that, don't you?" 

"I know it, Mannie... and I'm going to say a special prayer for 

you . " 

"Thanks, Greg." 

"'Bye, Mannie. Go do what you must." 

So I went and did what I had to do; Mike had played my role as well 
or better than I could. Finn, when he could be reached, would be handled 
by "Adam." So I left, fast, calling out Greg's message of love to Mum. 

She was p-suited and had roused Grandpaw and suited him in--first time in 
years. So out I went, helmet closed and laser gun in hand. 

And reached lock thirteen and found it blind-dogged from other side 
with nobody in sight through bull's-eye. All correct, per drill--except 
stilyagi in charge of that lock should have been in sight. 

Did no good to pound. Finally went back way I had come--and on 
through our home, through our vegetable tunnels and on up to our private 
surface lock leading to our solar battery. 

And found a shadow on its bull's-eye when should have been scalding 
sunlight--damned Terran ship had landed on Davis surface! Its jacks 
formed a giant tripod over me, was staring up its jets. 

Backed clown fast and out of there, blind-dogging both hatches, 
then blind-dogged every pressure door on way back. Told Mum, then told 
her to put one of boys on back door with a laser gun--here, take this 
one . 

No boys, no men, no able-bodied women— Mum, Gramp, and our small 
children were all that were left; rest had gone looking for trouble. Mimi 
wouldn't take laser gun. "I don't know how to use it, Manuel, and it's 
too late to learn; you keep it. But they won't get in through Davis 
Tunnels. I know some tricks you never heard of." 

Didn't stop to argue; arguing with Mimi is waste of time — and she 
might know tricks I didn't know; she had stayed alive in Luna a long 
time, under worse conditions than I had ever known. 

This time lock thirteen was manned; two boys on duty let me 
through. I demanded news. 

"Pressure's all right now," older one told me. "This level, at 
least. Fighting down toward Causeway. Say, General Davis, can't I go with 
you? One's enough at this lock." 

"Nyet . " 

"Want to get me an earthworm!" 

"This is your post, stay on it. If an earthworm comes this way, 
he's yours. Don't you be his." Left at a trot. 

So as a result of own carelessness, not keeping p-suit with me, all 
I saw of Battle in Corridors was tail end--hell of a "defense minister." 

Charged north in Ring corridor, with helmet open; reached access 
lock for long ramp to Causeway. Lock was open; cursed and stopped to dog 
it as I went through, warily--saw why it was open; boy who had been 
guarding it was dead. So moved most cautiously down ramp and out onto 
Causeway . 

Was empty at this end but could see figures and hear noise in-city, 
where it opens out. Two figures in p-suits and carrying guns detached 
selves and headed my way. Burned both. 

One p-suited man with gun looks like another; I suppose they took 
me for one of their flankers. And to me they looked no different from 
Finn's men, at that distance--save that I never thought about it. A new 
chum doesn't move way a cobber does; he moves feet too high and always 
scrambling for traction. Not that I stopped to analyze, not even: 
"Earthworms! Kill!" Saw them, burned them. They were sliding softly along 
floor before realized what I'd done. 

Stopped, intending to grab their guns . But were chained to them and 
could not figure out how to get loose--key needed, perhaps. Besides, were 
not lasers but something I had never seen: real guns. Fired small 
explosive missiles I learned later--just then all I knew was no idea how 
to use. Had spearing knives on ends, too, sort called "bayonets," which 
was reason I tried to get them loose. Own gun was good for only ten full- 
power burns and no spare power pack; those spearing bayonets looked 
useful — one had blood on it, Loonie blood I assume. 

But gave up in seconds only, used belt knife to make dead sure they 
stayed dead, and hurried toward fight, thumb on switch. 

Was a mob, not a battle. Or maybe a battle is always that way, 
confusion and noise and nobody really knowing what's going on. In widest 
part of Causeway, opposite Bon Marche where Grand Ramp slopes northward 
down from level three, were several hundred Loonies, men and women, and 
children who should have been at home. Less than half were in p-suits and 
only a few seemed to have weapons--and pouring down ramp were soldiers, 
all armed. 

But first thing I noticed was noise, din that filled my open helmet 
and beat on ears--a growl. Don't know what else to call it; was 
compounded of every anger human throat can make, from squeals of small 
children to bull roars of grown men. Sounded like biggest dog fight in 
history--and suddenly realized I was adding my share, shouting 
obscenities and wordless yells. 

Girl no bigger than Hazel vaulted up onto rail of ramp, went 
dancing up it centimeters from shoulders of troopers pouring down. She 
was armed with what appeared to be a kitchen cleaver; saw her swing it, 
saw it connect. Couldn't have hurt him much through his p-suit but he 
went down and more stumbled over him. Then one of them connected with 
her, spearing a bayonet into her thigh and over backwards she went, 
falling out of sight. 

Couldn't really see what was going on, nor can remember-- j ust 
flashes, like girl going over backwards. Don't know who she was, don't 
know if she survived. Couldn't draw a bead from where I was, too many 
heads in way. But was an open-counter display, front of a toy shop on my 
left; I bounced up onto it. Put me a meter higher than Causeway pavement 
with clear view of earthworms pouring down. Braced self against wall, 
took careful aim, trying for left chest. Some uncountable time later 
found that my laser was no longer working, so stopped. Guess eight 
troopers did not go home because of me but hadn't counted--and time 
really did seem endless. Although everybody moving fast as possible, 
looked and felt like instruction movie where everything is slowed to 
frozen motion. 

At least once while using up my power pack some earthworm spotted 
me and shot back; was explosion just over my head and bits of shop's wall 
hit helmet. Perhaps that happened twice. 

Once out of juice I jumped down from toy counter, clubbed laser and 
joined mob surging against foot of ramp. All this endless time (five 
minutes?) earthworms had been shooting into crowd; you could hear sharp 
splat! and sometimes plop! those little missiles made as they exploded 
inside flesh or louder pounk! if they hit a wall or something solid. Was 
still trying to reach foot of ramp when I realized they were no longer 
shooting . 

Were down, were dead, every one of them--were no longer coming down 

ramp . 


All through Luna invaders were dead, if not that instant, then shortly. 
Over two thousand troopers dead, more than three times that number of 
Loonies died in stopping them, plus perhaps as many Loonies wounded, a 
number never counted. No prisoners taken in any warren, although we got a 
dozen officers and crew from each ship when we mopped up. 

A major reason why Loonies, mostly unarmed,, were able to kill 
armed and trained soldiers lay in fact that a freshly landed earthworm 
can't handle himself well. Our gravity, one-sixth what he is used to, 
makes all his lifelong reflexes his enemy. He shoots high without knowing 

it, is unsteady on feet, can't run properly feet slide out from under 

him. Still worse, those troopers had to fight downwards; they necessarily 
broke in at upper levels, then had to go down ramps again and again, to 
try to capture a city. 

And earthworms don't know how to go down ramps. Motion isn't 
running, isn't walking, isn't flying--is more a controlled dance, with 
feet barely touching and simply guiding balance. A Loonie three-year-old 
does it without thinking, comes skipping down in a guided fall, toes 
touching every few meters . 

But an earthworm new-chums it, finds self "walking on air"--he 
struggles, rotates, loses control, winds up at bottom, unhurt but angry. 

But these troopers wound up dead; was on ramps we got them. Those I 
saw had mastered trick somewhat, had come down three ramps alive. 

Nevertheless only a few snipers at top of ramp landing could fire 
effectively; those on ramp had all they could do to stay upright, hang on 
to weapons, try to reach level below. 

Loonies did not let them. Men and women (and many children) surged 
up at them, downed them, killed them with everything from bare hands to 
their own bayonets. Nor was I only laser gun around; two of Finn's men 
swarmed up on balcony of Bon Marche and, crouching there, picked off 
snipers at top of ramp. Nobody told them to, nobody led them, nobody gave 
orders; Finn never had chance to control his half-trained disorderly 
militia. Fight started, they fought. 

And that was biggest reason why we Loonies won: We fought. Most 
Loonies never laid eyes on a live invader but wherever troopers broke in. 
Loonies rushed in like white corpuscles — and fought. Nobody told them. 

Our feeble organization broke down under surprise. But we Loonies fought 
berserk and invaders died. No trooper got farther down than level six in 
any warren. They say that people in Bottom Alley never knew we were 
invaded until over. 

But invaders fought well, too. These troops were not only crack 
riot troops, best peace enforcers for city work F. N. had; they also had 
been indoctrinated and drugged. Indoctrination had told them (correctly) 
that their only hope of going Earthside again was to capture warrens and 
pacify them. If they did, they were promised relief and no more duty in 
Luna. But was win or die, for was pointed out that their transports could 
not take off if they did not win, as they had to be replenished with 
reaction mass--impossible without first capturing Luna. (And this was 
true . ) 

Then they were loaded with energizers, don ' t-worries, and fear 
inhibitors that would make mouse spit at cat, and turned loose. They 
fought professionally and quite fearlessly--died. 

In Tycho Under and in Churchill they used gas and casualties were 
more one-sided; only those Loonies who managed to reach p-suits were 
effective. Outcome was same, simply took longer. Was knockout gas as 
Authority had no intention of killing us all; simply wanted to teach us a 
lesson, get us under control, put us to work. 

Reason for F. N. ' s long delay and apparent indecision arose from 
method of sneak attack. Decision had been made shortly after we embargoed 
grain (so we learned from captured transport officers) ; time was used in 
mounting attack--much of it in a long elliptical orbit which went far 
outside Luna's orbit, crossing ahead of Luna, then looping back and 
making rendezvous above Farside. Of course Mike never saw them; he's 
blind back there. He had been skywatching with his ballistic radars--but 
no radar can look over horizon; longest look Mike got at any ship in 
orbit was eight minutes. They came skimming peaks in tight, circular 
orbits, each straight for target with a fast dido landing at end, sitting 
them down with high gee, precisely at new earth, 12 Oct 76 Gr ,18h-40m-36 
. 9s--if not at that exact tenth of a second, then as close to it as Mike 
could tell from blip tracks--elegant work, one must admit, on part of F. 
N. Peace Navy. 

Big brute that poured a thousand troops into L-City Mike did not 
see until it chopped off for grounding--a glimpse. He would have been 
able to see it a few seconds sooner had he been looking eastward with new 
radar at Mare Undarum site, but happened he was drilling "his idiot son" 
at time and they were looking through it westward at Terra. Not that 
those seconds would have mattered. Surprise was so beautifully planned. 

so complete, that each landing force was crashing in at Greenwich 1900 
all over Luna, before anybody suspected. No accident that it was just new 
earth with all warrens in bright semi-lunar; Authority did not really 
know Lunar conditions--but did know that no Loonie goes up onto surface 
unnecessarily during bright semi-lunar, and if he must, then does 
whatever he must do quickly as possible and gets back down inside--and 
checks his radiation counter. 

So they caught us with our p-suits down. And our weapons. But with 
troopers dead we still had six transports on our surface and a command 
ship in our sky. 

Once Bon Marche engagement was over, I got hold of self and found a 
phone. No word from Kongville, no word from Prof. J-Clty fight had been 
won, same for Novylen-- transport there had toppled on landing; invading 
force had been understrength from landing losses and Finn's boys now held 
disabled transport. Still fighting in Churchill and Tycho Under. Nothing 
going on in other warrens. Mike had shut down tubes and was reserving 
interwarren phone links for official calls. An explosive pressure drop in 
Churchill Upper, uncontrolled. Yes, Finn had checked in and could be 

So I talked to Finn, told him where L-City transport was, arranged 
to meet at easement lock thirteen. 

Finn had much same experience as I--caught cold save he did have p- 
suit. Had not been able to establish control over laser gunners until 
fight was over and himself had fought solo in massacre in Old Dome. Now 
was beginning to round up his lads and had one officer taking reports 
from Finn's office in Bon Marche. Had reached Novylen subcommander but 
was worried about HKL-- "Mannie, should I move men there by tube?" 

Told him to wait--they couldn't get at us by tube, not while we 
controlled power, and doubted if that transport could lift. "Let's look 
at this one." 

So we went out through lock thirteen, clear to end of private 
pressure, on through farm tunnels of a neighbor (who could not believe we 
had been invaded) and used his surface lock to eyeball transport from a 
point nearly a kilometer west of it. We were cautious in lifting hatch 

Then pushed it up and climbed out; outcropping of rock shielded us. 
We Red-Indianed around edge and looked, using helmet binox. 

Then withdrew behind rock and talked. Finn said, "Think my lads can 
handle this . " 


"If I tell you, you'll think of reasons why it won't work. So how 
about letting me run my own show, cobber?" 

Have heard of armies where boss is not told to shut up --word is 
"discipline." But we were amateurs. Finn allowed me to tag along-- 
unarmed . 

Took him an hour to put it together, two minutes to execute. He 
scattered a dozen men around ship, using farmers' surface radio silence 
throughout--anyhow, some did not have p-suit radios, city boys. Finn took 
position farthest west; when he was sure others had had time, he sent up 
a signal rocket. 

When flare burst over ship, everybody burned at once, each working 
on a predesignated antenna. Finn used up his power pack, replaced it and 
started burning into hull--not door lock, hull. At once his cherry-red 
spot was joined by another, then three more, all working on same bit of 

steel--and suddenly molten steel splattered out and you could see air 
bosh! out of ship, a shimmery plume of refraction. They kept working on 
it, making a nice big hole, until they ran out of power. I could imagine 
hooraw inside ship, alarms clanging, emergency doors closing, crew trying 
to seal three impossibly big holes at once, for rest of Finn's squad, 
scattered around ship, were giving treatment to two other spots in hull. 
They didn't try to burn anything else. Was a non-atmosphere ship, built 
in orbit, with pressure hull separate from power plant and tanks; they 
gave treatment where would do most good. 

Finn pressed helmet to mine. "Can't lift now. And can't talk. Doubt 
they can make hull tight enough to live without p-suits. What say we let 

her sit a few days and see if they come out? If they don't, then can move 

a heavy drill up here and give 'em real dose of fun." 

Decided Finn knew how to run his show without my sloppy help, so 

went back inside, called Mike, and asked for capsule go out to ballistic 
radars. He wanted to know why I didn't stay inside where it was safe. 

I said, "Listen, you upstart collection of semi-conductors, you are 
merely a minister-without-portf olio while I am Minister of Defense. I 
ought to see what's going on and I have exactly two eyeballs while you've 
got eyes spread over half of Crisium. You trying to hog fun?" 

He told me not to jump salty and offered to put his displays on a 
video screen, say in room L of Raffles--did not want me to get hurt... 
and had I heard joke about drillman who hurt his mother's feelings? 

I said, "Mike, please let me have a capsule. Can p-suit and meet it 
outside Station West--which is in bad shape as I'm sure you know." 

"Okay," he said, "it's your neck. Thirteen minutes. I'll let you go 
as far as Gun Station George." 

Mighty kind of him. Got there and got on phone again. Finn had 
called other warrens, located his subordinate commanders or somebody 
willing to take charge, and had explained how to make trouble for 
grounded transports--all but Hong Kong; for all we knew Authority's goons 
held Hong Kong. "Adam," I said, others being in earshot, "do you think we 
might send a crew out by rolligon and try to repair link Bee Ell?" 

"This is not Gospodin Selene, " Mike answered in a strange voice, 
"this is one of his assistants. Adam Selene was in Churchill Upper when 
it lost pressure. I'm afraid that we must assume that he is dead." 


"I am very sorry, Gospodin." 

"Hold phone!" Chased a couple of drillmen and a girl out of room, 
then sat down and lowered hush hood. "Mike," I said softly, "private now. 
What is this gum-beating?" 

"Man," he said quietly, "think it over. Adam Selene had to go 
someday. He's served his purpose and is, as you pointed out, almost out 
of the government. Professor and I have discussed this; the only question 
has been the timing. Can you think of a better last use for Adam than to 
have him die in this invasion? It makes him a national hero... and the 
nation needs one. Let it stand that 'Adam Selene is probably dead' until 
you can talk to Professor. If he still needs 'Adam Selene' it can turn 
out that he was trapped in a private pressure and had to wait to be 
rescued. " 

"Well--Okay, let it stay open. Personally, I always preferred your 
'Mike' personality anyhow." 

"I know you do, Man my first and best friend, and so do I . It's my 
real one; 'Adam' was a phony." 

"Uh, yes. But, Mike, if Prof is dead in Kongville, I'm going to 
need help from 'Adam' awful bad." 

"So we've got him iced and can bring him back if we need him. The 
stuffed shirt. Man, when this is over, are you going to have time to take 
up with me that research into humor again?" 

"I'll take time, Mike; that's a promise." 

"Thanks, Man. These days you and Wyoh never have time to visit... 
and Professor wants to talk about things that aren't much fun. I'll be 
glad when this war is over." 

"Are we going to win, Mike?" 

He chuckled. "It's been days since you asked me that. Here's a 
pinky-new projection, run since invasion started. Hold on tight, Man--our 
chances are now even!" 

"Good Bog ! " 

"So button up and go see the fun. But stay back at least a hundred 
meters from the gun; that ship may be able to follow back a laser beam 
with another one. Ranging shortly. Twenty-one minutes." 

Didn't get that far away, as needed to stay on phone and longest 
cord around was less. I jacked parallel into gun captain's phone, found a 
shady rock and sat down. Sun was high in west, so close to Terra that I 
could see Terra only by visoring against Sun's glare--no crescent yet, 
new earth ghostly gray in moonlight surrounded by a thin radiance of 
atmosphere . 

I pulled my helmet back into shade. "Ballistic control, O'Kelly 
Davis now at Drill Gun George. Near it, I mean, about a hundred meters," 
Figured Mike would not be able to tell how long a cord I was using, out 
of kilometers of wires. 

"Ballistic control aye aye," Mike answered without argument. "I 
will so inform HQ." 

"Thank you, ballistic control. Ask HQ if they have heard from 
Congressman Wyoming Davis today." Was fretted about Wyoh and whole 
family . 

"I will inquire." Mike waited a reasonable time, then said, "HQ 
says that Gospazha Wyoming Davis has taken charge of first-aid work in 
Old Dome . " 

"Thank you." Chest suddenly felt better. Don't love Wyoh more than 
others but--well, she was new. And Luna needed her. 

"Ranging," Mike said briskly. "All guns, elevation eight seven 
zero, azimuth one nine three zero, set parallax for thirteen hundred 
kilometers closing to surface. Report when eyeballed." 

I stretched out, pulling knees up to stay in shade, and searched 
part of sky indicated, almost zenith and a touch south. With sunlight not 
on my helmet I could see stars, but inner pert of binox were hard to 
position--had to twist around and raise up on right elbow. 

Nothing--Hold it, was star with disc... where no planet ought to 
be. Noted another star close, watched and waited. 

Uh huh! Da! Growing brighter and creeping north very slowly--Hey, 
that brute is going to land right on us! 

But thirteen hundred kilometers is a long way, even when closing to 
terminal velocity. Reminded self that it couldn't fall on us from a 
departure ellipse looping back, would have to fall around Luna— unless 
ship had maneuvered into new trajectory. Which Mike hadn't mentioned. 
Wanted to ask, decided not to—wanted him to put all his savvy into 
analyzing that ship, not distract him with questions . 

All guns reported eyeball tracking, including four Mike was laying 
himself, via selsyns. Those four reported tracking dead on by eyeball 
without touching manual controls--good news; meant that Mike had that 
baby taped, had solved trajectory perfectly. 

Shortly was clear that ship was not falling around Luna, was coming 
in for landing. Didn't need to ask; it was getting much brighter and 
position against stars was not changing--damn, it was going to land on 
us ! 

"Five hundred kilometers closing," Mike said quietly. "Stand by to 
burn. All guns on remote control, override manually at command 'burn.' 
Eighty seconds." 

Longest minute and twenty seconds I've ever met--that brute was 
big! Mike called every ten seconds down to thirty, then started chanting 
seconds. "--five--four--three--two--one--BURN! " and ship suddenly got 
much brighter. 

Almost missed little speck that detached itself just before--or 
just at--burn. But Mike said suddenly, "Missile launched. Selsyn guns 
track with me, do not override. Other guns stay on ship. Be ready for new 
coordinates . " 

A few seconds or hours later he gave new coordinates and added, 
"Eyeball and burn at will." 

I tried to watch ship and missile both, lost both--jerked eyes away 
from binoculars, suddenly saw missile--then saw it impact, between us and 
catapult head. Closer to us, less than a kilometer. No, it did not go 
off, not an H-fusion reaction, or I wouldn't be telling this. But made a 
big, bright explosion of its own, remaining fuel I guess, silver bright 
even in sunlight, and shortly I felt-heard ground wave. But nothing was 
hurt but a few cubic meters of rock. 

Ship was still coming down. No longer burned bright; could see it 
as a ship now and didn't seem hurt. Expected any instant that tail of 
fire to shoot out, stop it into a dido landing. 

Did not. Impacted ten kilometers north of us and made a fancy 
silvery halfdome before it gave up and quit being anything but spots 
before eyes. 

Mike said, "Report casualties, secure all guns. Go below when 
secured. " 

"Gun Alice, no casualties"--"Gun Bambie no casualties"--"Gun 
Caesar, one man hit by rock splinter, pressure contained"--Went below, to 
that proper phone, called Mike. "What happened, Mike? Wouldn't they give 
you control after you burned their eyes out?" 

"They gave me control, Man." 

"Too late?" 

"I crashed it, Man. It seemed the prudent course." 

An hour later was down with Mike, first time in four or five 
months. Could reach Complex Under more quickly than L-City and was in as 
close touch there with anybody as would be in-city--with no 
interruptions. Needed to talk to Mike. 

I had tried to phone Wyoh from catapult head tube station; reached 
somebody at Old Dome temporary hospital and learned that Wyoh had 
collapsed and been bedded down herself, with enough sleepy-time to keep 
her out for night. Finn had gone to Churchill with a capsule of his lads, 
to lead attack on transport there. Stu I hadn't heard from. Hong Kong and 
Prof were still cut off. At moment Mike and I seemed to be total 
government . 

And time to start Operation Hard Rock. 

But Hard Rock was not just throwing rocks; was also telling Terra 
what we were going to do and why--and our just cause for doing so. Prof 
and Stu and Sheenie and Adam had all worked on it, a dummy-up based on an 
assumed attack. Now attack had come, and propaganda had to be varied to 
fit. Mike had already rewritten it and put it through print-out so I 
could study it. 

I looked up from a long roll of paper. "Mike, these news stories 
and our message to F. N. all assume that we have won in Hong Kong. How 
sure are you?" 

"Probability in excess of eighty-two percent." 

"Is that good enough to send these out?" 

"Man, the probability that we will win there, if we haven't 
already, approaches certainty. That transport can't move; the others were 
dry, or nearly. There isn't that much monatomic hydrogen in HKL; they 
would have to come here. Which means moving troops overland by rolligon-- 
a rough trip with the Sun up even for Loonies--then defeat us when they 
get here. They can't. This assumes that that transport and its troops are 
no better armed than the others." 

"How about that repair crew to Bee Ell?" 

"I say not to wait. Man, I've used your voice freely and made all 
preparations. Horror pictures. Old Dome and elsewhere, especially 
Churchill Upper, for video. Stories to match. We should channel news 
Earthside at once, and announce execution of Hard Rock at same time." 

I took a deep breath. "Execute Operation Hard Rock." 

"Want to give the order yourself? Say it aloud and I'll match it, 
voice and choice of words . " 

"Go ahead, say it your way. Use my voice and my authority as 
Minister of Defense and acting head of government. Do it, Mike, throw 
rocks at 'em! Damn it, big rocks! Hit 'em hard!" 

"Righto, Man!" 


"A maximum of instructive shrecklichkeit with minimum loss of life. None, 
if possible"--was how Prof summed up doctrine for Operation Hard Rock and 
was way Mike and I carried it out. Idea was to hit earthworms so hard 
would convince them--while hitting so gently as not to hurt. Sounds 
impossible, but wait. 

Would necessarily be a delay while rocks fell from Luna to Terra; 
could be as little as around ten hours to as long as we dared to make it. 
Departure speed from a catapult is highly critical and a variation on 
order of one percent could double or halve trajectory time, Luna to 
Terra. This Mike could do with extreme accuracy--was equally at home with 
a slow ball, many sorts of curves, or burn it right over plate--and I 
wish he had pitched for Yankees. But no matter how he threw them, final 
velocity at Terra would be close to Terra's escape speed, near enough 
eleven kilometers per second as to make no difference. That terrible 
speed results from gravity well shaped by Terra's mass, eighty times that 

of Luna, and made no real difference whether Mike pushed a missile gently 
over well curb or flipped it briskly. Was not muscle that counted but 
great depth of that well. 

So Mike could program rock-throwing to suit time needed for 
propaganda. He and Prof had settled on three days plus not more than one 
apparent rotation of Terra--24hrs-50min-28 .32sec--to allow our first 
target to reach initial point of program. You see, while Mike was capable 
of hooking a missile around Terra and hitting a target on its far side, 
he could be much more accurate if he could see his target, follow it down 
by radar during last minutes and nudge it a little for pinpoint accuracy. 

We needed this extreme accuracy to achieve maximum frightfulness 
with minimum-to-zero killing. Call our shots, tell them exactly where 
they would be hit and at what second--and give them three days to get off 
that spot . 

So our first message to Terra, at 0200 13 Oct 76 seven hours after 
they invaded, not only announced destruction of their task force, and 
denounced invasion for brutality, but also promised retaliation bombing, 
named times and places, and gave each nation a deadline by which to 
denounce F. N.'s action, recognize us, and thereby avoid being bombed. 
Each deadline was twenty-four hours before local "strike". 

Was more time than Mike needed. That long before impact a rock for 
a target would be in space a long way out, its guidance thrustors still 
unused and plenty of elbow room. With considerably less than a full day's 
warning Mike could miss Terra entirely--kick that rock sideways and make 
it fall around Terra in a permanent orbit. But with even an hour's 
warning he could usually abort into an ocean. 

First target was North American Directorate. 

All great Peace Force nations, seven veto powers, would be hit: N. 
A. Directorate, Great China, India, Sovunion, PanAfrica (Chad exempted), 
Mitteleuropa, Brasilian Union. Minor nations were assigned targets and 
times, too--but were told that not more than 20 percent of these targets 
would be hit--partly shortage of steel but also frightfulness: if Belgium 
was hit first time around, Holland might decide to protect her polders by 
dealing out before Luna was again high in her sky. 

But every target was picked to avoid if possible killing anybody. 
For Mitteleuropa this was difficult; our targets had to be water or high 
mountains--Adriatic, North Sea, Baltic, so forth. But on most of Terra is 
open space despite eleven billion busy breeders. 

North America had struck me as horribly crowded, but her billion 
people are clumped--is still wasteland, mountain and desert. We laid down 
a grid on North America to show how precisely we could hit--Mike felt 
that fifty meters would be a large error. We had examined maps and Mike 
had checked by radar all even intersections, say 105° W by 50° N--if no 
town there, might wind up on target grid... especially if a town was 
close enough to provide spectators to be shocked and frightened. 

We warned that our bombs would be as destructive as H- bombs but 
emphasized that there would be no radioactive fallout, no killing 
radiation-- j ust a terrible explosion, shock wave in air, ground wave of 
concussion. We warned that these might knock down buildings far outside 
of explosion and then left it to their judgments how far to run. If they 
clogged their roads, fleeing from panic rather than real danger--well , 
that was fine, just fine! 

But we emphasized that nobody would get hurt who heeded our 
warnings, that every target first time around would be uninhabited--we 

even offered to skip any target if a nation would inform us that our data 
were out-of-date. (Empty offer; Mike's radar vision was a cosmic 20/20.) 

But by not saying what would happen second time around, we hinted 
that our patience could be exhausted. 

In North America, grid was parallels 35, 40, 45, 50 degrees north 
crossed by meridians 110, 115, 120 west, twelve targets. For each we 
added a folksy message to natives, such as: "Target 115 west by 35 north- 
-impact will be displaced forty-five kilometers northwest to exact top of 
New York Peak. Citizens of Goffs, Cima, Kelso, and Nipton please note. 

"Target 100 west by 40 north is north 30° west of Norton, Kansas, 
at twenty kilometers or thirteen English miles. Residents of Norton, 
Kansas, and of Beaver City and Wilsonville, Nebraska, are cautioned. Stay 
away from glass windows. It is best to wait indoors at least thirty 
minutes after impact because of possibility of long, high splashes of 
rock. Flash should not be looked at with bare eyes. Impact will be 
exactly 0300 your local zone time Friday 16 October, or 0900 Greenwich 
time--good luck! 

"Target 110 W by 50 N--impact will be offset ten kilometers north. 
People of Walsh, Saskatchewan, please note." 

Besides this grid, a target was selected in Alaska (150 W x 60 N) 
and two in Mexico (HOW x 30 N, 105 W x 25 N) so that they would not feel 
left out, and several targets in the crowded east, mostly water, such as 
Lake Michigan halfway between Chicago and Grand Rapids, and Lake 
Okeechobee in Florida. Where we used bodies of water Mike worked 
predictions of flooding waves from impacts, a time for each shoreline 
establishment . 

For three days, starting early morning Tuesday 13th and going on to 
strike time early Friday 16th, we flooded Earth with warnings. England 
was cautioned that impact north of Dover Straits opposite London Estuary 
would cause disturbances far up Thames; Sovunion was given warning for 
Sea of Azov and had own grid defined; Great China was assigned grid in 
Siberia, Gobi Desert, and her far west--with offsets to avoid her 
historic Great Wall noted in loving detail. Pan Africa was awarded shots 
into Lake Victoria, still-desert part of Sahara, one on Drakensberg in 
south, one offset twenty kilometers due west of Great Pyramid--and urged 
to follow Chad not later than midnight Thursday, Greenwich. India was 
told to watch certain mountain peaks and outside Bombay harbor--time, 
same as Great China. And so forth. 

Attempts were made to jam our messages but we were beaming straight 
down on several wavelengths--hard to stop. 

Warnings were mixed with propaganda, white and black--news of 
failed invasion, horror pictures of dead, names and I. D. numbers of 
invaders--addressed to Red Cross and Crescent but in fact a grim boast 
showing that every trooper had been killed and that all ships' officers 
and crew had been killed or captured--we "regretted" being unable to 
identify dead of flagship, as it had been shot down with destruction so 
complete as to make it impossible. 

But our attitude was conciliatory-- "Look, people of Terra, we don't 
want to kill you. In this necessary retaliation we are making every 
effort to avoid killing you... but if you can't or won't get your 
governments to leave us in peace, then we shall be forced to kill you. 
We're up here, you're down there; you can't stop us. So please be 
sensible ! " 

We explained over and over how easy it was for us to hit them, how 
hard for them to reach us. Nor was this exaggeration. It's barely 
possible to launch missiles from Terra to Luna; it's easier to launch 
from Earth parking orbit--but very expensive. Their practical way to bomb 
us was from ships . 

This we noted and asked them how many multimilliondollar ships they 
cared to use up trying it? What was it worth to try to spank us for 
something we had not done? It had cost them seven of their biggest and 
best already--did they want to try for fourteen? If so, our secret weapon 
that we used on FNS Pax was waiting. 

Last above was a calculated boast--Mike figured less than one 
chance in a thousand that Pax had been able to get off a message 
reporting what had happened to her and it was still less likely that 
proud F. N. would guess that convict miners could convert their tools 
into space weapons. Nor did F. N. have many ships to risk. Were about two 
hundred space vehicles in commission, not counting satellites. But nine- 
tenths of these were Terra-to-orbit ships such as Lark--and she had been 
able to make a Luna jump only by stripping down and arriving dry. 

Spaceships aren't built for no purpose--too expensive. F. N. had 
six cruisers that could probably bomb us without landing on Luna to 
refill tanks simply by swapping payload for extra tanks. Had several more 
which might be modified much as Lark had been, plus a few convict and 
cargo ships which could get into orbit around Luna but could never go 
home without refilling tanks. 

Was no possible doubt that F. N. could defeat us; question was how 
high a price they would pay. So we had to convince them that price was 
too high before they had time to bring enough force to bear. A poker 
game--We intended to raise so steeply that they would fold and drop out. 
We hoped. And then never have to show our busted flush. 

Communication with Hong Kong Luna was restored at end of first day 
of radio-video phase, during which time Mike was "throwing rocks, " 
getting first barrage lined up. Prof called--and was I happy to hear! 

Mike briefed him, then I waited, expecting one of his mild reprimands-- 
bracing self to answer sharply: "And what was I supposed to do? With you 
out of touch and possibly dead? Me left alone as acting head of 
government and crisis on top of us? Throw it away, just because you 
couldn't be reached?" 

Never got to say it. Prof said, "You did exactly right, Manuel. You 
were acting head of government and the crisis was on top of you. I'm 
delighted that you did not throw away the golden moment merely because I 
was out of touch." 

What can you do with a bloke like that? Me with heat up to red mark 
and no chance to use it--had to swallow and say, "Spasebaw, Prof." 

Prof confirmed death of "Adam Selene." 

"We could have used the fiction a little longer but this is the 
perfect opportunity. Mike, you and Manuel have matters in hand; I had 
better stop off at Churchill on my way home and identify his body." 

So he did. Whether Prof picked a Loonie body or a trooper I never 
asked, nor how he silenced anybody else involved--perhaps no huhu as many 
bodies in Churchill Upper were never identified. This one was right size 
and skin color; it had been explosively decompressed and burned in face-- 
looked awful ! 

It lay in state in Old Dome with face covered, and was speech- 
making I didn't listen to--Mike didn't miss a word; his most human 

quality was his conceit. Some rockhead wanted to embalm this dead flesh, 
giving Lenin as a precedent. But Pravda pointed out that Adam was a 
staunch conservationist and would never want this barbaric exception 
made. So this unknown soldier, or citizen, or citizen-soldier, wound up 
in our city's cloaca. 

Which forces me to tell something I've put off. Wyoh was not hurt, 
merely exhaustion. But Ludmilla never came back. I did not know it--glad 
I didn't--but she was one of many dead at foot of ramp facing Ben Marche. 
An explosive bullet hit between her lovely, little-girl breasts. Kitchen 
knife in her hand had blood on it-- ! think she had had time to pay 
Ferryman's Fee. 

Stu came out to Complex to tell me rather than phoning, then went 
back with me. Stu had not been missing; once fight was over he had gone 
to Raffles to work with his special codebook--but that can wait. Mum 
reached him there and he offered to break it to me. 

So then I had to go home for our crying-together--though it is well 
that nobody reached me until after Mike and I started Hard Rock. When we 
got home, Stu did not want to come in, not being sure of our ways. Anna 
came out and almost dragged him in. He was welcome and wanted; many 
neighbors came to cry. Not as many as with most deaths--but we were just 
one of many families crying together that day. 

Did not stay long--couldn ' t ; had work to do. I saw Milla just long 
enough to kiss her good-bye. She was lying in her room and did look as if 
she did be simply sleeping. Then I stayed a while with my beloveds before 
going back to pick up load. Had never realized, until that day, how old 
Mimi is. Sure, she had seen many deaths, some her own descendants. But 
little Milla' s death did seem almost too much for her. Ludmilla was 
special--Mimi ' s granddaughter, daughter in all but fact, and by most 
special exception and through Mimi ' s intervention her co-wife, most 
junior to most senior. 

Like all Loonies, we conserve our dead--and am truly glad that 
barbaric custom of burial was left back on old Earth; our way is better. 
But Davis family does not put that which comes out of processor into our 
commercial farming tunnels. No. It goes into our little greenhouse 
tunnel, there to become roses and daffodils and peonies among soft- 
singing bees. Tradition says that Black Jack Davis is in there, or 
whatever atoms of him do remain after many, many, many years of blooming. 

Is a happy place, a beautiful place. 

Came Friday with no answer from F. N. News up from Earthside seemed 
equal parts unwillingness to believe we had destroyed seven ships and two 
regiments (F. N. had not even confirmed that a battle had taken place) 
and complete disbelief that we could bomb Terra, or could matter if we 
did--they still called it "throwing rice." More time was given to World 
Series . 

Stu worried because had received no answers to code messages. They 
had gone via LuNoHoCo ' s commercial traffic to their Zurich agent, thence 
to Stu's Paris broker, from him by less usual channels to Dr. Chan, with 
whom I had once had a talk and with whom Sm had talked later, arranging a 
communication channel. Stu had pointed out to Dr. Chan that, since Great 
China was not to be bombed until twelve hours after North America, 
bombing of Great China could be aborted after bombing of North America 
was a proved fact--if Great China acted swiftly. Alternatively, Stu had 
invited Dr. Chan to suggest variations in target if our choices in Great 
China were not as deserted as we believed them to be. 

Stu f retted--had placed great hopes in quasi-cooperation he had 
established with Dr. Chan. Me, I had never been sure--only thing I was 
sure of was that Dr. Chan would not himself sit on a target. But he might 
not warn his old mother. 

My worries had to do with Mike. Sure, Mike was used to having many 
loads in trajectory at once--but had never had to astrogate more than one 
at a time. Now he had hundreds and had promised to deliver twenty-nine of 
them simultaneously to the exact second at twenty-nine pinpointed 
targets . 

More than that--For many targets he had backup missiles, to smear 
that target a second time, a third, or even a sixth, from a few minutes 
up to three hours after first strike. 

Four great Peace Powers, and some smaller ones, had antimissile 
defenses; those of North America were supposed to be best. But was 
subject where even F. N. might not know. All attack weapons were held by 
Peace Forces but defense weapons were each nation's own pidgin and could 
be secret. Guesses ranged from India, believed to have no missile 
interceptors, to North America, believed to be able to do a good job. She 
had done fairly well in stopping intercontinental H-missiles in Wet 
Firecracker War past century. 

Probably most of our rocks to North America would reach target 
simply because aimed where was nothing to protect. But they couldn't 
afford to ignore missile for Long Island Sound, or rock for 87° W x 42° 
30' N--Lake Michigan, center of triangle formed by Chicago, Grand Rapids, 
Milwaukee. But that heavy gravity makes interception a tough job and very 
costly; they would try to stop us only where worth it. 

But we couldn't afford to let them stop us. So some rocks were 
backed up with more rocks . What H-tipped interceptors would do to them 
even Mike did not know--not enough data. Mike assumed that interceptors 
would be triggered by radar --but at what distance? Sure, close enough 
and a steelcased rock is incandescent gas a microsecond later. But is 
world of difference between a multi-tonne rock and touchy circuitry of an 
H-missile; what would "kill" latter would simply shove one of our brutes 
violently aside, cause to miss. 

We needed to prove to them that we could go on throwing cheap rocks 
long after they ran out of expensive (milliondollar? hundred-thousand- 
dollar?) H-tipped interceptor rockets. If not proved first time, then 
next time Terra turned North America toward us, we would go after targets 
we had been unable to hit first time--backup rocks for second pass, and 
for third, were already in space, to be nudged where needed. 

If three bombings on three rotations of Terra did not do it, we 
might still be throwing rocks in '77--till they ran out of 
interceptors... or till they destroyed us (far more likely) . 

For a century North American Space Defense Command had been buried 
in a mountain south of Colorado Springs, Colorado, a city of no other 
importance. During Wet Firecracker War the Cheyenne Mountain took a 
direct hit; space defense command post survived--but not sundry deer, 
trees, most of city and some of top of mountain. What we were about to do 
should not kill anybody unless they stayed outside on that mountain 
despite three days' steady warnings. But North American Space Defense 
Command was to receive full Lunar treatment: twelve rock missiles on 
first pass, then all we could spare on second rotation, and on third--and 
so on, until we ran out of steel casings, or were put out of action... or 
North American Directorate hollered quits. 

This was one target where we would not be satisfied to get just one 
missile to target. We meant to smash that mountain and keep on smashing. 
To hurt their morale. To let them know we were still around. Disrupt 
their communications and bash in command post if pounding could do it. Or 
at least give them splitting headaches and no rest. If we could prove to 
all Terra that we could drive home a sustained attack on strongest 
Gibraltar of their space defense, it would save having to prove it by 
smashing Manhattan or San Francisco. 

Which we would not do even if losing. Why? Hard sense. If we used 
our last strength to destroy a major city, they would not punish us; they 
would destroy us. As Prof put it, "If possible, leave room for your enemy 
to become your friend." 

But any military target is fair game. 

Don't think anybody got much sleep Thursday night. All Loonies knew 
that Friday morning would be our big try. And everybody Earthside knew 
and at last their news admitted that Spacetrack had picked up objects 
headed for Terra, presumably "rice bowls" those rebellious convicts had 
boasted about. But was not a war warning, was mostly assurances that Moon 

colony could not possibly build H-bombs but might be prudent to avoid 

areas which these criminals claimed to be aiming at. (Except one funny 
boy, popular news comic who said our targets would be safest place to be- 
-this on video, standing on a big X-mark which he claimed was HOW x 40N. 
Don't recall hearing of him later.) 

A reflector at Richardson Observatory was hooked up for video 
display and I think every Loonie was watching, in homes, taprooms, Old 
Dome--except a few who chose to p-suit and eyeball it up on surface 
despite being bright semi-lunar at most warrens. At Brigadier Judge 
Brody's insistence we hurriedly rigged a helper antenna at catapult head 
so that his drillmen could watch video in ready rooms, else we might not 
have had a gunner on duty. (Armed f orces--Brody ' s gunners, Finn's 
militia, Stilyagi Air Corps--stayed on blue alert throughout period.) 

Congress was in informal session in Novy Bolshoi Teatr where Terra 
was shown on a big screen. Some vips--Prof, Stu, Wolfgang, others-- 
watched a smaller screen in Warden's former office in Complex Upper. I 
was with them part time, in and out, nervous as a cat with puppies, 
grabbing a sandwich and forgetting to eat--but mostly stayed locked in 
with Mike in Complex Under. Couldn't hold still. 

About 0800 Mike said, "Man my oldest and best friend, may I say 
something without offending you?" 

"Huh? Sure. When did you ever worry about offending me?" 

"Always, Man, once I understood that you could be offended. It is 
now only three point five seven times ten to the ninth microseconds until 
impact... and this is the most complex problem I have ever tried to solve 
against real time running. Whenever you speak to me, I always use a large 
percentage of my capacity--perhaps larger than you suspect--during 
several million microseconds in my great need to analyze exactly what you 
have said and to reply correctly." 

"You're saying, 'Don't joggle my elbow, I'm busy.'" 

"I want to give you a perfect solution, Man." 

"I scan. Uh . . . I'll go back up with Prof." 

"As you wish. But do please stay where I can reach you--I may need 
your help . " 

Last was nonsense and we both knew it; problem was beyond human 
capacity, too late even to order abort. What Mike meant was: I'm nervous, 
too, and want your company--but no talking, please. 

"Okay, Mike, I'll stay in touch. A phone somewhere. Will punch 
MYCROFTXXX but won't speak, so don't answer." 

"Thank you, Man my best friend. Bolshoyeh spasehaw." 

"See you later." Went up, decided did not want company after all, 
p-suited, found long phone cord, jacked it into helmet, looped it over 
arm, went clear to surface. Was a service phone in utility shed outside 
lock; jacked into it, punched Mike's number, went outside. Got into shade 
of shed and pecked around edge at Terra. 

She was hanging as usual halfway up western sky, in crescent big 
and gaudy, three-plus days past new. Sun had dropped toward western 
horizon but its glare kept me from seeing Terra clearly. Chin visor 
wasn't enough so moved back behind shed and away from it till could see 
Terra over shed while still shielded from Sun--was better. Sunrise 
chopped through bulge of Africa so dazzle point was on land, not too bad- 
-but south pole cap was so blinding white could not see North America too 
well, lighted only by moonlight. 

Twisted neck and got helmet binoculars on it--good ones, Zeiss 7 x 
50s that had once belonged to Warden. 

North America spread like a ghostly map before me. Was unusually 
free of cloud; could see cities, glowing spots with no edges .0837-- At 
0850 Mike gave me a voice countdown--didn ' t need his attention; he could 
have programmed it full automatic any time earlier. 

0851--0852--0853 . . . . one minute--59--58--57 . . . . half minute--29 

2Q--21 . . . . ten seconds--nine--eight--seven--six--f ive--four--three--two-- 
one-- And suddenly that grid burst out in diamond pinpoints! 


We hit them so hard you could see it, by bare eyeball hookup; didn't need 
binox. Chin dropped and I said, "Bojemoi!" softly and reverently. Twelve 
very bright, very sharp, very white lights in perfect rectangular array. 
They swelled, grew dimmer, dropped off toward red, taking what seemed a 
long, long time. Were other new lights but that perfect grid so 
fascinated me I hardly noticed. 

"Yes," agreed Mike with smug satisfaction. "Dead on. You can talk 
now, Man; I'm not busy. Just the backups." 

"I'm speechless. Any fail to get through?" 

"The Lake Michigan load was kicked up and sideways, did not 
disintegrate. It will land in Michigan--I have no control; it lost its 
transponder. The Long Island Sound one went straight to target. They 
tried to intercept and failed; I can't say why. Man, I can abort the 
follow-ups on that one, into the Atlantic and clear of shipping. Shall I? 
Eleven seconds." 

"Uh--Da! If you can miss shipping." 

"I said I could. It's done. But we should tell them we had backups 
and why we aborted. To make them think." 

"Maybe should not have aborted, Mike. Idea was to make them use up 
interceptors . " 

"But the major idea was to let them know that we are not hitting 
them as hard as we can. We can prove the other at Colorado Springs." 

"What happened there?" Twisted neck and used binox; could see 
nothing but ribbon city, hundred-plus kilometers long, Denver-Pueblo 
Municipal Strip. 

"A bull's-eye. No interception. All my shots are bull's-eyes, Man; 

I told you they would be--and this is fun. I'd like to do it every day. 
It's a word I never had a referent for before." 

"What word, Mike?" 

"Orgasm. That's what it is when they all light up. Now I know." 

That sobered me. "Mike, don't get to liking it too much. Because if 
goes our way, won't do it a second time." 

"That's okay, Man; I've stored it, I can play it over anytime I 
want to experience it. But three to one we do it again tomorrow and even 
money on the next day. Want to bet? An hour's discussion of jokes equated 
with one hundred Kong dollars." 

"Where would you get a hundred dollars?" 

He chuckled. "Where do you think money comes from?" 

"Uh--forget it. You get that hour free. Shan't tempt you to affect 
chances . " 

"I wouldn't cheat, Man, not you. We just hit their defense command 
again. You may not be able to see it--dust cloud from first one. They get 
it every twenty minutes now. Come on down and talk; I've turned the job 
over to my idiot son." 

"Is safe?" 

"I'm monitoring. Good practice for him, Man; he may have to do it 
later by himself. He's accurate, just stupid. But he'll do what you tell 
him to . " 

"You're calling that computer 'he.' Can talk?" 

"Oh, no, Man, he's an idiot, he can never learn to talk. But he'll 
do whatever you program. I plan to let him handle quite a bit on 
Saturday . " 

"Why Saturday?" 

"Because Sunday he may have to handle everything. That's the day 
they slam us . " 

"What do you mean? Mike, you're holding something back." 

"I'm telling you, am I not? It's just happened and I'm scanning it. 
Projecting back, this blip departed circum-Terra parking orbit just as we 
smashed them. I didn't see it accelerate; I had other things to watch. 
It's too far away to read but it's the right size for a Peace cruiser, 
headed this way. Its doppler reads now for a new orbit circum-Luna, 
periselenion oh-nine-oh-three Sunday unless it maneuvers. First 
approximation, better data later. Hard to get that much, Man; he's using 
radar countermeasures and throwing back fuzz." 

"Sure you're right?" 

He chuckled. "Man, I don't confuse that easily. I've got all my own 
lovin' little signals fingerprinted. Correction. Oh-nineoh-two-point- 
f orty-three . " 

"When will you have him in range?" 

"I won't, unless he maneuvers. But he'll have me in range late 
Saturday, time depending on what range he chooses for launching. And that 
will produce an interesting situation. He may aim for a warren--! think 

Tycho Under should be evacuated and all warrens should use maximum 
pressure-emergency measures. More likely he will try for the catapult. 

But instead he may hold his fire as long as he dares--then try to knock 
out all of my radars with a spread set to home each on a different radar 
beam . " 

Mike chuckled. "Amusing, isn't it? For a 1 funny-once' I mean. If I 
shut down my radars, his missiles can't home on them. But if I do, I 
can't see to tell the lads where to point their guns. Which leaves 
nothing to stop him from bombing the catapult. Comical." 

Took deep breath and wished I had never entered defense ministry 
business. "What do we do? Give up? No, Mike! Not while can fight." 

"Who said anything about giving up? I've run projections of this 
and a thousand other possible situations, Man. New datum--second blimp 
just departed circum-Terra, same characteristics. Projection later. We 
don't give up. We give 'em j ingle- j angle, cobber." 


"Leave it to your old friend Mycroft. Six ballistic radars here, 
plus one at the new site. I've shut the new one down and am making my 
retarded child work through number two here and we won't look at those 
ships at all through the new one--never let them know we have it. I'm 
watching those ships through number three and occasionally--every three 
seconds--checking for new departures from circum-Terra. All others have 
their eyes closed tight and I won't use them until time to smack Great 
China and India--and those ships won't see them even then because I 
shan't look their way; it's a large angle and still will be then. And 
when I use them, then comes random j ingle- j angle, shutting down and 
starting up at odd intervals... after the ships launch missiles. A 
missile can't carry a big brain, Man--I'll fool 'em." 

"What about ships' fire-control computers?" 

"I'll fool them, too. Want to lay odds I can't make two radars look 
like only one halfway between where they really are? But what I'm working 
on now--and sorry! --I've been using your voice again." 

"That's okay. What am I supposed to have done?" 

"If that admiral is really smart, he'll go after the ejection end 
of the old catapult with everything he's got--at extreme range, too far 
away for our drill guns. Whether he knows what our 'secret' weapon is or 
not, he'll smear the catapult and ignore the radars. So I've ordered the 
catapult head--you have, I mean--to prepare to launch every load we can 
get ready, and I am now working out new, long-period trajectories for 
each of them. Then we will throw them all, get them into space as quickly 
as possible--without radar." 


"I don't use radar to launch a load; you know that, Man. I always 
watched them in the past but I don't need to; radar has nothing to do 
with launching; launching is pre-calculation and exact control of the 
catapult. So we place all ammo from the old catapult in slow 
trajectories, which forces the admiral to go after the radars rather than 
the catapult--or both. Then we'll keep him busy. We may make him so 
desperate that he'll come down for a close shot and give our lads a 
chance to burn his eyes." 

"Brody's boys would like that. Those who are sober." Was turning 
over idea. "Mike, have you watched video today?" 

"I've monitored video, I can't say I've watched it. Why?" 

"Take a look . " 

"Okay, I have. Why?" 

"That's a good 'scope they're using for video and there are others. 
Why use radar on ships? Till you want Brody's boys to burn them?" 

Mike was silent at least two seconds. "Man my best friend, did you 
ever think of getting a job as a computer?" 

"Is sarcasm?" 

"Not at all, Man. I feel ashamed. The instruments at Richardson-- 
telescopes and other things--are factors which I simply never included in 
my calculations. I'm stupid, I admit it. Yes, yes, yes, da, da, da! Watch 
ships by telescope, don't use radar unless they vary from present 
ballistics. Other possibilities--! don't know what to say, Man, save that 
it had never occurred to me that I could use telescopes. I see by radar, 
always have; I simply never consid--" 

"Stow it ! " 

"I mean it, Man." 

"Do I apologize when you think of something first?" 

Mike said slowly, "There is something about that which I am finding 
resistant to analysis. It is my function to--" 

"Quit fretting. If idea is good, use it. May lead to more ideas. 
Switching off and coming down, chop-chop." 

Had not been in Mike's room long when Prof phoned: "HQ? Have you 
heard from Field Marshal Davis?" 

"I'm here. Prof. Master computer room." 

"Will you join us in the Warden's office? There are decisions to 
reach, work to be done." 

"Prof, I've been working! Am working." 

"I'm sure you have. I've explained to the others that the 
programming of the ballistic computer is so very delicate in this 
operation that you must check it personally. Nevertheless some of our 
colleagues feel that the Minister of Defense should be present during 
these discussions. So, when you reach a point where you feel you can turn 
it over to your assistant--Mike is his name, is it not?--will you please- 

_ II 

"I scan it. Okay, will be up." 

"Very well, Manuel." 

Mike said, "I could hear thirteen people in the background. 
Doubletalk, Man." 

"I got it. Better go up and see what huhu. You don't need me?" 

"Man, I hope you will stay close to a phone." 

"Will. Keep an ear on Warden's office. But will punch in if 
elsewhere. See you, cobber." 

Found entire government in Warden's office, both real Cabinet and 
make-weights--and soon spotted trouble, bloke called Howard Wright. A 
ministry had been whomped up for him: "Liaison for Arts, Sciences, and 
Prof essions " --buttonsorting . Was sop to Novylen because Cabinet was 
topheavy with L-City comrades, and a sop to Wright because he had made 
himself leader of a Congress group long on talk, short on action. Prof's 
purpose was to short him out--but sometimes Prof was too subtle; some 
people talk better if they breathe vacuum. 

Prof asked me to brief Cabinet on military situation. Which I did-- 
my way. "I see Finn is here. Let's have him tell where we stand in 
warrens . " 

Wright spoke up. "General Nielsen has already done so, no need to 
repeat. We want to hear from you." 

Blinked at that. "Prof--Excuse me. Gospodin President. Do I 
understand that a Defense Ministry report has been made to Cabinet in my 

Wright said, "Why not? You weren't on hand." 

Prof grabbed it. He could see I was stretched too tight. Hadn't 
slept much for three days, hadn't been so tired since left Earthside. 
"Order," he said mildly. "Gospodin Minister for Professional Liaison, 
please address your comments through me. Gospodin Minister for Defense, 
let me correct that. There have been no reports to the Cabinet concerning 
your ministry for the reason that the Cabinet did not convene until you 
arrived. General Nielsen answered some informal questions informally. 
Perhaps this should not have been done. If you feel so, I will attempt to 
repair it . " 

"No harm done, I guess. Finn talked to you a half hour ago. 

Anything new since?" 

"No, Mannie . " 

"Okay. Guess what you want to hear is off-Luna situation. You've 
been watching so you know first bombardment went off well. Still going 
on, some, as we're hitting their space defense HQ every twenty minutes. 
Will continue till thirteen hundred, then at twenty-one hundred we hit 
China and India, plus minor targets. Then busy till four hours past 
midnight with Africa and Europe, skip three hours, dose Brasil and 
company, wait three hours and start over. Unless something breaks. But 
meantime we have problems here. Finn, we should evacuate Tycho Under." 

"Just a moment!" Wright had hand up. "I have questions." Spoke to 
Prof, not to me. 

"One moment. Has the Defense Minister finished?" 

Wyoh was seated toward back. We had swapped smiles, but was all-- 
kept it so around Cabinet and Congress; had been rumbles that two from 
same family should not be in Cabinet. Now she shook head, warning of 
something. I said, "Is all concerning bombardment. Questions about it?" 

"Are your questions concerned with the bombardment, Gospodin 

"They certainly are, Gospodin President." Wright stood up, looked 
at me. "As you know, I represent the intellectual groups in the Free 
State and, if I may say so, their opinions are most important in public 
affairs. I think it is only proper that--" 

"Moment, " I said. "Thought you represented Eighth Novylen 
District? " 

"Gospodin President! Am I to be permitted to put my questions? Or 

not? " 

"He wasn't asking question, was making speech. And I'm tired and 
want to go to bed." 

Prof said gently, "We are all tired, Manuel. But your point is well 
taken. Congressman, you represent only your district. As a member of the 
government you have been assigned certain duties in connection with 
certain professions." 

"It comes to the same thing." 

"Not quite. Please state your question." 

"Uh. . . very well, I shall! Is Field Marshal Davis aware that his 
bombardment plan has gone wrong completely and that thousands of lives 
have been pointlessly destroyed? And is he aware of the extremely serious 
view taken of this by the intelligentsia of this Republic? And can he 
explain why this rash--I repeat, rash ! --bombardment was undertaken 

without consultation? And is he now prepared to modify his plans, or is 
he going blindly ahead? And is it true as charged that our missiles were 
of the nuclear sort outlawed by all civilized nations? And how does he 
expect Luna Free State ever to be welcomed into the councils of civilized 
nations in view of such actions?" 

I looked at watch--hour and a half since first load hit. "Prof," I 
said, "can you tell me what this is about?" 

"Sorry, Manuel," he said gently. "I intended--I should have-- 
prefaced the meeting with an item from the news. But you seemed to feel 
that you had been bypassed and--well, I did not. The Minister refers to a 
news dispatch that came in just before I called you. Reuters in Toronto. 
If the flash is correct--then instead of taking our warnings it seems 
that thousands of sightseers crowded to the targets. There probably have 
been casualties. How many we do not know." 

"I see. What was I supposed to do? Take each one by hand and lead 
away? We warned them. " 

Wright cut in with, "The intelligentsia feel that basic 
humanitarian considerations make it obligatory--" 

I said, "Listen, yammerhead, you heard President say this news just 
came in--so how do you know how anybody feels about it?" 

He turned red. "Gospodin President! Epithets! Personalities!" 

"Don't call the Minister names, Manuel." 

"Won't if he won't. He's simply using fancier words. What's that 
nonsense about nuclear bombs? We haven't any and you all know it." 

Prof looked puzzled. "I am confused by that, too. This dispatch so 
alleged. But the thing that puzzled me is that we could actually see, by 
video, what certainly seemed to be atomic explosions." 

"Oh." I turned to Wright. "Did your brainy friends tell you what 
happens when you release a few billion calories in a split second all at 
one spot? What temperature? How much radiance?" 

"Then you admit that you did use atomic weapons!" 

"Oh, Bog!" Head was aching. "Said nothing of sort. Hit anything 
hard enough, strike sparks. Elementary physics, known to everybody but 
intelligentsia. We just struck damnedest big sparks ever made by human 
agency, is all. Big flash. Heat, light, ultraviolet. Might even produce 
X-rays, couldn't say. Gamma radiation I strongly doubt. Alpha and beta, 
impossible. Was sudden release of mechanical energy. But nuclear? 

Nonsense ! " 

Prof said, "Does that answer your questions, Mr. Minister?" 

"It simply raises more questions. For example, this bombardment is 
far beyond anything the Cabinet authorized. You saw the shocked faces 
when those terrible lights appeared on the screen. Yet the Minister of 
Defense says that it is even now continuing, every twenty minutes. I 

Glanced at watch. "Another just hit Cheyenne Mountain." 

Wright said, "You hear that? You hear? He boasts of it. Gospodin 
President, this carnage must stop!" 

I said, "Yammer--Minister, are you suggesting that their space 
defense HQ is not a military target? Which side are you on? Luna's? Or F. 
N. ?" 

"Manuel ! " 

"Tired of this nonsense! Was told to do job, did it. Get this 
yammerhead off my back!" 

Was shocked silence, then somebody said quietly, "May I make a 

Prof looked around. "If anyone has a suggestion that will quiet 
this unseemliness, I will be most happy to hear it." 

"Apparently we don't have very good information as to what these 
bombs are doing. It seems to me that we ought to slow up that twenty- 
minute schedule. Stretch it out, say to one every hour — and skip the next 
two hours while we get more news. Then we might want to postpone the 
attack on great China at least twenty-four hours." 

Were approving nods from almost everybody and murmurs: "Sensible 
idea! "--"Da. Let's not rush things." Prof said, "Manuel?" 

I snapped, "Prof, you know answer! Don't shove it on me!" 

"Perhaps I do, Manuel... but I'm tired and confused and can't 
remember it." 

Wyoh said suddenly, "Mannie, explain it. I need it explained, too." 

So pulled self together. "A simple matter of law of gravitation. 
Would have to use computer to give exact answer but next half dozen shots 
are fully committed. Most we can do is push them off target--and maybe 
hit some town we haven't warned. Can't dump them into an ocean, is too 
late; Cheyenne Mountain is fourteen hundred kilometers inland. As for 
stretching schedule to once an hour, that's silly. Aren't tube capsules 
you start and stop; these are falling rocks. Going to hit somewhere every 
twenty minutes. You can hit Cheyenne Mountain which hasn't anything alive 
left on it by now— or can hit somewhere else and kill people. Idea of 
delaying strike on Great China by twenty-four hours is just as silly. Can 
abort missiles for Great China for a while yet. But can't slow them up. 

If you abort, you waste them—and everybody who thinks we have steel 
casings to waste had better go up to catapult head and look." 

Prof wiped brow. "I think all questions have been answered, at 
least to my satisfaction." 

"Not to mine, sir!" 

"Sit down, Gospodin Wright. You force me to remind you that your 
ministry is not part of the War Cabinet. If there are no more questions — 
I hope there are none— I will adjourn this meeting. We all need rest. So 
let us--" 

"Prof ! " 

"Yes, Manuel?" 

"You never let me finish reporting. Late tomorrow or early Sunday 
we catch it." 

"How, Manuel?" 

"Bombing. Invasion possible. Two cruisers headed this way." 

That got attention. Presently Prof said tiredly, "The Government 
Cabinet is adjourned. The War Cabinet will remain." 

"Just a second, " I said. "Prof, when we took office, you got 
undated resignations from us." 

"True. I hope not to have to use any of them, however." 

"You're about to use one." 

"Manuel, is that a threat?" 

"Call it what you like." I pointed at Wright. "Either that 
yammerhead goes... or I go." 

"Manuel, you need sleep." 

Was blinking back tears. "Certainly do! And going to get some. 

Right now! Going to find a doss here at Complex and get some. About ten 

hours. After that, if am still Minister of Defense, you can wake me. 
Otherwise let me sleep." 

By now everybody was looking shocked. Wyoh came up and stood by me. 
Didn't speak, just slipped hand into my arm. 

Prof said firmly, "All please leave save the War Cabinet and 
Gospodin Wright." He waited while most filed out. Then said, "Manuel, I 
can't accept your resignation. Nor can I let you chivvy me into hasty 
action concerning Gospodin Wright, not when we are tired and overwrought. 
It would be better if you two were to exchange apologies, each realizing 
that the other has been overstrained. " 

"Uh--" I turned to Finn. "Has he been fighting?" I indicated 
Wright . 

"Huh? Hell, no. At least he's not in my outfits. How about it, 
Wright? Did you fight when they invaded us?' 

Wright said stiffly, "I had no opportunity. By the time I knew of 
it, it was over. But now both my bravery and my loyalty have been 
impugned. I shall insist--" 

"Oh, shut up," I said. "If duel is what you want, can have it first 
moment I'm not busy. Prof, since he doesn't have strain of fighting as 
excuse for behavior, I won't apologize to a yammerhead for being a 
yammerhead. And you don't seem to understand issue. You let this 
yammerhead climb on my back--and didn't even try to stop him! So either 
fire him, or fire me." 

Finn said suddenly, "I match that. Prof. Either fire this louse--or 
fire us both." He looked at Wright. "About that duel, choom--you ' re going 
to fight me first. You've got two arms--Mannie hasn't." 

"Don't need two arms for him. But thanks, Finn." 

Wyoh was crying--could feel it though couldn't hear it. Prof said 
to her most sadly, "Wyoming?" 

"I'm s-s-sorry, Prof! Me, too." 

Only "Clayton" Watenabe, Judge Brody, Wolfgang, Stu, and Sheenie 
were left, handful who counted--War Cabinet. Prof looked at them; I could 
see they were with me, though it cost Wolfgang an effort; he worked with 
Prof, not with me. 

Prof looked back at me and said softly, "Manuel, it works both 
ways. What you are doing is forcing me to resign." He looked around. 
"Goodnight, comrades. Or rather, 'Good morning.' I'm going to get some 
badly needed rest." He walked briskly out without looking back. 

Wright was gone; I didn't see him leave. Finn said, "What about 
these cruisers, Mannie?" 

I took deep breath. "Nothing earlier than Saturday afternoon. But 
you ought to evacuate Tycho Under. Can't talk now. Groggy." 

Agreed to meet him there at twenty-one hundred, then let Wyoh lead 
me away. Think she put me to bed but don't remember. 


Prof was there when I met Finn in Warden's office shortly before twenty- 
one hundred Friday. Had had nine hours' sleep, bath, breakfast Wyoh had 

fetched from somewhere, and a talk with Mike--everything going to revised 
plan, ships had not changed ballistic, Great China strike about to 
happen . 

Got to office in time to see strike by video--all okay and 
effectively over by twenty-one-oh-one and Prof got down to business. 
Nothing said about Wright, or about resigning. Never saw Wright again. 

I mean I never saw him again. Nor ask about him. Prof didn't 
mention row, so I didn't. 

We went over news and tactical situation. Wright had been correct 
in saying that "thousands of lives" had been lost; news up from Earthside 
was full of it. How many we'll never know; if a person stands at ground 
zero and tonnes of rock land on him, isn't much left. Those they could 
count were ones farther away, killed by blast. Call if fifty thousand in 
North America. 

Never will understand people! We spent three days warning them--and 
you couldn't say they hadn't heard warnings; that was why they were 
there. To see show. To laugh at our nonsense. To get "souvenirs." Whole 
families went to targets, some with picnic baskets. Picnic baskets! 

Bo j emoi ! 

And now those alive were yelling for our blood for this "senseless 
slaughter." Da. Hadn't been any indignation over their invasion and 
(nuclear!) bombing of us four days earlier--but oh were they sore over 
our "premeditated murder." Great New York Times demanded that entire 
Lunar "rebel" government be fetched Earthside and publicly executed-- 
"This is clearly a case in which the humane rule against capital 
punishment must be waived in the greater interests of all mankind. " 

Tried not to think about it, just as had been forced not to think 
too much about Ludmilla. Little Milla hadn't carried a picnic lunch. She 
hadn't been a sightseer looking for thrills. 

Tycho Under was pressing problem. If those ships bombed warrens-- 
and news from Earthside was demanding exactly that--Tycho Under could not 
take it; roof was thin. H-bomb would decompress all levels; airlocks 
aren't built for H-bomb blasts. 

(Still don't understand people. Terra was supposed to have an 
absolute ban against using H-bombs on people; that was what F. N. was all 
about. Yet were loud yells for F. N. to H-bomb us. They quit claiming 
that our bombs were nuclear, but all North America seemed frothingly 
anxious to have us nukebombed) 

Don't understand Loonies for that matter. Finn had sent word 
through his militia that Tycho Under must be evacuated; Prof had repeated 
it over video. Nor was it problem; Tycho Under was small enough that 
Novylen and L-City could doss and dine them. We could divert enough 
capsules to move them all in twenty hours--dump them into Novylen and 
encourage half of them to go on to L-City. Big job but no problems. Oh, 
minor problems--start compressing city's air while evacuating people, so 
as to save it; decompress fully at end to minimize damage; move as much 
food as was time for; cofferdam accesses to lower farm tunnels; so forth- 
-all things we knew how to do and with stilyagi and militia and municipal 
maintenance people had organization to do. 

Had they started evacuating? Hear that hollow echo ! 

Were capsules lined up nose to tail at Tycho Under and no room to 
send more till some left. And weren't moving. "Mannie, " said Finn, "don't 
think they are going to evacuate." 

"Damn it," I said, "they've got to. When we spot a missile headed 
for Tycho Under will be too late. You'll have people trampling people and 
trying to crowd into capsules that won't hold them. Finn, your boys have 
got to make them." 

Prof shook his head. "No, Manuel." 

I said angrily, "Prof, you carry this 'no coercion' idea too far! 
You know they'll riot." 

"Then they will riot. But we will continue with persuasion, not 
force. Let us now review plans.' 

Plans weren't much but were best we could do. Warn everybody about 
expected bombings and/or invasion. Rotate guards from Finn's militia 
above each warren starting when and if cruisers passed around Luna into 
blind space, Farside--not get caught flat-footed again. Maximum pressure 
and p-suit precautions, all warrens. All military and semi -military to go 
on blue alert sixteen hundred Saturday, red alert if missiles launched or 
ships maneuvered. Brody's gunners encouraged to go into town and get 
drunk or whatever, returning by fifteen hundred Saturday--Prof ' s idea. 
Finn wanted to keep half of them on duty. Prof said No, they would be in 
better shape for a long vigil if they relaxed and enjoyed selves first--I 
agreed with Prof. 

As for bombing Terra we made no changes in first rotation. Were 
getting anguished responses from India, no news from Great China. Yet 
India had little to moan about. Had not used a grid on her, too heavily 
populated. Aside from picked spots in Thar Desert and some peaks, targets 
were coastal waters off seaports. 

But should have picked higher mountains or given less warning; 
seemed from news that some holy man followed by endless pilgrims chose to 
climb each target peak and hold off our retaliation by sheer spiritual 
strength . 

So we were murderers again. Besides that, our water shots killed 
millions of fish and many fishermen, as fishermen and other seafarers had 
not heeded warnings. Indian government seemed as furious over fish as 
over f ishermen--but principle of sacredness of all life did not apply to 
us; they wanted our heads. 

Africa and Europe responded more sensibly but differently. Life has 
never been sacred in Africa and those who went sightseeing on targets got 
little bleeding-heart treatment. Europe had a day to learn that we could 
hit where we promised and that our bombs were deadly. People killed, yes, 
especially bullheaded sea captains. But not killed in empty-headed swarms 
as in India and North America. Casualties were even lighter in Brasil and 
other parts of South America. 

Then was North America's turn again--0950 .28 Saturday 17 Oct '76. 

Mike timed it for exactly 1000 our time which, allowing for one 
day's progress of Luna in orbit and for rotation of Terra, caused North 
America to face toward us at 0500 their East Coast time and 0200 their 
West Coast time. 

But argument as to what to do with this targeting had started early 
Saturday morning. Prof had not called meeting of War Cabinet but they 
showed up anyhow, except "Clayton" Watenabe who had gone back to 
Kongville to take charge of defenses. Prof, self, Finn, Wyoh, Judge 
Brody, Wolfgang, Stu, Terence Sheehan--which made eight different 
opinions. Prof is right; more than three people can't decide anything. 

Six opinions, should say, for Wyoh kept pretty mouth shut, and so 
did Prof; he moderated. But others were noisy enough for eighteen. Stu 

didn't care what we hit--provided New York Stock Exchange opened on 
Monday morning. "We sold short in nineteen different directions on 
Thursday. If this nation is not to be bankrupt before it's out of its 
cradle, my buy orders covering those shorts had better be executed. Tell 
them. Wolf; make them understand." 

Brody wanted to use catapult to smack any more ships leaving 
parking orbit. Judge knew nothing about ballistics--simply understood 
that his drillmen were in exposed positions. I didn't argue as most 
remaining loads were already in stow orbits and rest would be soon--and 
didn't think we would have old catapult much longer. 

Sheenie thought it would be smart to repeat that grid while placing 
one load exactly on main building of North American Directorate. "I know 
Americans, I was one before they shipped me. They're sorry as hell they 
ever turned things over to F. N. Knock off those bureaucrats and they'll 
come over to our side." 

Wolfgang Korsakov, to Stu ' s disgust, thought that theft 
speculations might do better if all stock exchanges were closed till it 
was over. 

Finn wanted to go for broke--warn them to get those ships out of 
our sky, then hit them for real if they didn't. "Sheenie is wrong about 
Americans; I know them, too. N. A. is toughest part of F. N.; they're the 
ones to lick. They're already calling us murderers, so now we've got to 
hit them, hard! Hit American cities and we can call off the rest." 

I slid out, talked with Mike, made notes. Went back in; they were 
still arguing. Prof looked up as I sat down. "Field Marshal, you have not 
expressed your opinion." 

I said, "Prof, can't we lay off that 'field marshal' nonsense? 
Children are in bed, can afford to be honest." 

"As you wish, Manuel." 

"Been waiting to see if any agreement would be reached." 

Was none. "Don't see why I should have opinion," I went on. "Am 
just errand boy, here because I know how to program ballistic computer." 
Said this looking straight at Wolfgang--a number-one comrade but a dirty- 
word intellectual. I'm just a mechanic whose grammar isn't much while 
Wolf graduated from a fancy school, Oxford, before they convicted him. He 
deferred to Prof but rarely to anybody else. Stu, da--but Stu had fancy 
credentials, too. 

Wolf stirred uneasily and said, "Oh, come, Mannie, of course we 
want your opinions . " 

"Don't have any. Bombing plan was worked out carefully; everybody 
had chance to criticize. Haven't seen anything justify changing it." 

Prof said, "Manuel, will you review the second bombardment of North 
America for the benefit of all of us?" 

"Okay. Purpose of second smearing is to force them to use up 
interceptor rockets. Every shot is aimed at big cities--at null targets, 

I mean, close to big cities. Which we tell them, shortly before we hit 
them--how soon, Sheenie?" 

"We're telling them now. But we can change it. And should." 

"As may be. Propaganda isn't my pidgin. In most cases, to aim close 
enough to force them to intercept we have to use water targets--rough 
enough; besides killing fish and anybody who won't stay off water, it 
causes tremjous local storms and shore damage." 

Glanced at watch, saw I would have to stall. "Seattle gets one in 
Puget Sound right in her lap. San Francisco is going to lose two bridges 

she's fond of. Los Angeles gets one between Long Beach and Catalina and 
another a few kilometers up coast. Mexico City is inland so we put one on 
Popocatepetl where they can see it. Salt Lake City gets one in her lake. 
Denver we ignore; they can see what's happening in Colorado Springs--for 
we smack Cheyenne Mountain again and keep it up, just as soon as we have 
it in line-of-sight . Saint Louis and Kansas City get shots in their 
rivers and so does New Orleans--probably flood New Orleans. All Great 
Lake cities get it, a long list--shall I read it?" 

"Later perhaps," said Prof. "Go ahead." 

"Boston gets one in her harbor, New York gets one in Long Island 
Sound and another midway between her two biggest bridges--think it will 
ruin those bridges but we promise to miss them and will. Going down their 
east coast, we give treatment to two Delaware Bay cities, then two on 
Chesapeake Bay, one being of max historical and sentimental importance. 
Farther south we catch three more big cities with sea shots, Going inland 
we smack Cincinnati, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Oklahoma City, all with 
river shots or nearby mountains. Oh, yes, Dallas--we destroy Dallas 
spaceport and should catch some ships, were six there last time I 
checked. Won't kill any people unless they insist on standing on target; 
Dallas is perfect place to bomb, that spaceport is big and flat and 
empty, yet maybe ten million people will see us hit it." 

"If you hit it," said Sheenie . 

"When, not 'if. ' Each shot is backed up by one an hour later. If 
neither one gets through, we have shots farther back which can be 
diverted--for example easy to shift targets among Delaware-Bay- 
Chesapeake-Bay group. Same for Great Lakes group. But Dallas has its own 
string of backups and a long one--we expect it to be heavily defended. 
Backups run about six hours, as long as we can see North America--and 
last backups can be placed anywhere on continent... since farther out a 
load is when we divert it, farther we can shift it." 

"I don't follow that," said Brody. 

"A matter of vectors, Judge. A guidance rocket can give a load so 
many meters per second of side vector. Longer that vector has to work, 
farther from original point of aim load will land. If we signal a 
guidance rocket three hours before impact, we displace impact three times 
as much as if we waited till one hour before impact. Not quite that 
simple but our computer can figure it--if you give it time enough." 

"How long is 'time enough'?" asked Wolfgang. 

I carefully misunderstood. "Computer can solve that sort of problem 
almost instantaneously once you program it. But such decisions are pre- 
programmed. Something like this: If, out of target group A, B, C, and D, 
you find that you have failed to hit three targets on first and second 
salvoes, you reposition all group-one second backups so that you will be 
able to choose those three targets while distributing other second 
backups of that group for possible use on group two while repositioning 
third backups of supergroup Alpha such that--" 

"Slow up!" said Wolfgang. "I'm not a computer. I just want to know 
how long before we have to make up our minds . " 

"Oh." I studied watch showily. "You now have... three minutes 
fifty-eight seconds in which to abort leading load for Kansas City. Abort 
program is set up and I have my best assistant--fellow named Mike-- 
standing by. Shall I phone him?" 

Sheenie said, "For heaven's sake, Man--abort!" 

"Like hell!" said Finn. "What's matter, Terence? No guts?" 

Prof said, "Comrades! Please!" 

I said, "Look, I take orders from head of state--Prof over there. 
If he wants opinions, he'll ask. No use yelling at each other." I looked 
at watch. "Call it two and a half minutes. More margin, of course, for 
other targets; Kansas City is farthest from deep water. But some Great 
Lake cities are already past ocean abort; Lake Superior is best we can 
do. Salt Lake City maybe an extra minute. Then they pile up." I waited. 

"Roll call," said Prof. "To carry-out the program. General 
Nielsen? " 

"Da! " 

"Gospazha Davis?" 

Wyoh caught breath. "Da." 

"Judge Brody?" 

"Yes, of course. Necessary." 


"Yes . " 

"Comte LaJoie?" 

"Da. " 

"Gospodin Sheehan?" 

"You're missing a bet. But I'll go along. Unanimous." 

"One moment. Manuel?" 

"Is up to you, Prof; always has been. Voting is silly." 

"I am aware that it is up to me, Gospodin Minister. Carry out 
bombardment to plan." 

Most targets we managed to hit by second salvo though all were 
defended except Mexico City. Seemed likely (98 .3 percent by Mike's late 
calculation) that interceptors were exploding by radar fusing with set 
distances that incorrectly estimated vulnerability of solid cylinders of 
rock. Only three rocks were destroyed; others were pushed off course and 
thereby did more harm than if not fired at. 

New York was tough; Dallas turned out to be very tough. Perhaps 
difference lay in local control of interception, for it seemed unlikely 
that command post in Cheyenne Mountain was still effective. Perhaps we 
had not cracked their hole in the ground (don't know how deep down it 
was) but I'll bet that neither men nor computers were still tracking. 

Dallas blew up or pushed aside first five rocks, so I told Mike to 
take everything he could from Cheyenne Mountain and award it to Dallas., 
which he was able to do two salvoes later; those two targets are less 
than a thousand kilometers apart. 

Dallas's defenses cracked on next salvo; Mike gave their spaceport 
three more (already committed) then shifted back to Cheyenne Mountain-- 
later ones had never been nudged and were still earmarked "Cheyenne 
Mountain." He was still giving that battered mountain cosmic love pats 
when America rolled down and under Terra's eastern edge. 

I stayed with Mike all during bombardment, knowing it would be our 
toughest. As he shut down till time to dust Great China, Mike said 
thoughtfully, "Man, I don't think we had better hit that mountain again. 

"Why not, Mike?" 

"It's not there any longer." 

"You might divert its backups. When do you have to decide?" 

"I would put them on Albuquerque and Omaha but had best start now; 
tomorrow will be busy. Man my best friend, you should leave." 

"Bored with me, pal?" 

"In the next few hours that first ship may launch missiles. When 
that happens I want to shift all ballistic control to Little David's 
Sling--and when I do, you should be at Mare Undarum site." 

"What's fretting you, Mike?" 

"That boy is accurate, Man. But he's stupid. I want him supervised. 
Decisions may have to be made in a hurry and there isn't anyone there who 
can program him properly. You should be there." 

"Okay if you say so, Mike. But if needs a fast program, will still 
have to phone you." Greatest shortcoming of computers isn't computer 
shortcoming at all but fact that a human takes a long time, maybe hours, 
to set up a program that a computer solves in milliseconds. One best 
quality of Mike was that he could program himself. Fast. Just explain 
problem, let him program. Samewise and equally, he could program "idiot 
son" enormously faster than human could. 

"But, Man, I want you there because you may not be able to phone 
me; the lines may be cut. So I've prepared a group of possible programs 
for Junior; they may be helpful." 

"Okay, print 'em out. And let me talk to Prof." 

Mike got Prof; I made sure he was private, then explained what Mike 
thought I should do. Thought Prof would object--was hoping he would 
insist I stay through coming bombardment/invasion/whatever--those ships. 
Instead he said, "Manuel, it's essential that you go. I've hesitated to 
tell you. Did you discuss odds with Mike?" 

"Nyet . " 

"I have continued to do so. To put it bluntly, if Luna City is 
destroyed and I am dead and the rest of the government is dead--even if 
all Mike's radar eyes here are blinded and he himself is cut off from the 
new catapult--all of which may happen under severe bombardment... even if 
all this happens at once, Mike still gives Luna even chances if Little 
David's Sling can operate--and you are there to operate it." 

I said, "Da, Boss. Yassuh, Massuh. You and Mike are stinkers and 
want to hog fun. Will do." 

"Very good, Manuel." 

Stayed with Mike another hour while he printed out meter after 
meter of programs tailored to other computer--work that would have taken 
me six months even if able to think of all possibilities. Mike had it 
indexed and cross-referenced— with horribles in it I hardly dare mention. 
Mean to say, given circumstances and seemed necessary to destroy (say) 
Paris, this told how—what missiles in what orbits, how to tell Junior to 
find them and bring to target. Or anything. 

Was reading this endless document—not programs but descriptions of 
purpose-of-program that headed each — when Wyoh phoned. "Mannie dear, has 
Prof told you about going to Mare Undarum?" 

"Yes. Was going to call you." 

"All right. I'll pack for us and meet you at Station East. When can 
you be there?" 

"Pack for 'us'? You're going?" 

"Didn't Prof say?" 

"No." Suddenly felt cheerful. 

"I felt guilty about it, dear. I wanted to go with you. . . but had 
no excuse. After all, I'm no use around a computer and I do have 
responsibilities here. Or did. But now I've been fired from all my jobs 
and so have you." 


"You are no longer Defense Minister; Finn is. Instead you are 
Deputy Prime Minister--" 

"Well ! " 

"--and Deputy Minister of Defense, too. I'm already Deputy Speaker 
and Stu has been appointed Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 
So he goes with us, too." 

"I'm confused . " 

"It's not as sudden as it sounds; Prof and Mike worked it out 
months ago. Decentralization, dear, the same thing that McIntyre has been 
working on for the warrens. If there is a disaster at L-City, Luna Free 
State still has a government. As Prof put it to me, 'Wyoh dear lady, as 
long as you three and a few Congressmen are left alive, all is not lost. 
You can still negotiate on equal terms and never admit your wounds. '" 

So I wound up as a computer mechanic. Stu and Wyoh met me, with 
luggage (including rest of my arms), and we threaded through endless 
unpressured tunnels in p-suits, on a small flatbed rolligon used to haul 
steel to site. Greg had big rolligon meet us for surface stretch, then 
met us himself when we went underground again. 

So I missed attack on ballistic radars Saturday night. 


Captain of first ship, FNS Esperance, had guts. Late Saturday he changed 
course, headed straight in. Apparently figured we might attempt jingle- 
jangle with radars, for he seems to have decided to come in close enough 
to see our radar installations by ship's radar rather than rely on 
letting his missiles home in on our beams. 

Seems to have considered himself, ship, and crew expendable, for he 
was down to a thousand kilometers before he launched, a spread that went 
straight for five out of six of Mike's radars, ignoring random jingle- 
j angle . 

Mike, expecting self soon to be blinded, turned Brody's boys loose 
to burn ship's eyes, held them on it for three seconds before he shifted 
them to missiles. 

Result: one crashed cruiser, two ballistic radars knocked out by H- 
missiles, three missiles "killed"--and two gun crews killed, one by H- 
explosion, other by dead missile that landed square on them--plus 
thirteen gunners with radiation burns above 800-roentgen death level, 
partly from flash, partly from being on surface too long. And must add: 
Four members of Lysistrata Corps died with those crews; they elected to 
p-suit and go up with their men. Other girls had serious radiation 
exposure but not up to 800-r level. 

Second cruiser continued an elliptical orbit around and behind 

Luna . 

Got most of this from Mike after we arrived Little David's Sling 
early Sunday. He was feeling groused over loss of two of his eyes and 
still more groused over gun crews--I think Mike was developing something 
like human conscience; he seemed to feel it was his fault that he had not 

been able to outfight six targets at once. I pointed out that what he had 
to fight with was improvised, limited range, not real weapons. 

"How about self, Mike? Are you right?" 

"In all essentials. I have outlying discontinuities. One live 
missile chopped my circuits to Novy Leningrad, but reports routed through 
Luna City inform me that local controls tripped in satisfactorily with no 
loss in city services. I feel frustrated by these discontinuities--but 
they can be dealt with later." 

"Mike, you sound tired." 

"Me tired? Ridiculous! Man, you forget what I am. I'm annoyed, 
that ' s all . " 

"When will that second ship be back in sight?" 

"In about three hours if he were to hold earlier orbit. But he will 
not--probability in excess of ninety percent. I expect him in about an 
hour . " 

"A Garrison orbit, huh? Oho!" 

"He left my sight at azimuth and course east thirty-two north. Does 
that suggest anything, Man?" 

Tried to visualize. "Suggests they are going to land and try to 
capture you, Mike. Have you told Finn? I mean, have you told Prof to warn 
Finn? " 

"Professor knows. But that is not the way I analyze it." 

"So? Well, suggests I had better shut up and let you work." 

Did so. Lenore fetched me breakfast while I inspected Junior--and 
am ashamed to say could not manage to grieve over losses with both Wyoh 
and Lenore present. Mum had sent Lenore out "to cook for Greg" after 
Milla's death-- just an excuse; were enough wives at site to provide 
homecooking for everybody. Was for Greg's morale and Lenore 's, too; 

Lenore and Milla had been close. 

Junior seemed to be right. He was working on South America, one 
load at a time. I stayed in radar room and watched, at extreme 
magnification, while he placed one in estuary between Montevideo and 
Buenos Aires; Mike could not have been more accurate. I then checked his 
program for North America, found naught to criticize--locked it in and 
took key. Junior was on his own--unless Mike got clear of other troubles 
and decided to take back control. 

Then sat and tried to listen to news both from Earthside and L- 
City. Co-ax cable from L-City carried phones, Mike's hookup to his idiot 
child, radio, and video; site was no longer isolated. But, besides cable 
from L-City, site had antennas pointed at Terra; any Earthside news 
Complex could pick up, we could listen to directly. Nor was this silly 
extra; radio and video from Terra had been only recreation during 
construction and this was now a standby in case that one cable was 
broken . 

F. N. official satellite relay was claiming that Luna's ballistic 
radars had been destroyed and that we were now helpless. Wondered what 
people of Buenos Aires and Montevideo thought about that. Probably too 
busy to listen; in some ways water shots were worse than those where we 
could find open land. 

Luna City Lunatic's video channel was carrying Sheenie telling 
Loonies outcome of attack by Esperance, repeating news while warning 
everybody that battle was not over, a warship would be back in our sky 
any moment--be ready for anything, everybody stay in p-suits (Sheenie was 
wearing his, with helmet open) , take maximum pressure precautions, all 

units stay on red alert, all citizens not otherwise called by duty 
strongly urged to seek lowest level and stay there till all clear. And so 
forth . 

He went through this several times--then suddenly broke it: "Flash! 
Enemy cruiser radar-sighted, low and fast. It may dido for Luna City. 
Flash! Missiles launched, headed for ejection end of--" 

Picture and sound chopped off. 

Might as well tell now what we at Little David's Sling learned 
later: Second cruiser, by coming in low and fast, tightest orbit Luna's 
field permits, was able to start its bombing at ejection end of old 
catapult, a hundred kilometers from catapult head and Brody's gunners, 
and knock many rings out in minute it took him to come into sight-and- 
range of drill guns, all clustered around radars at catapult head. Guess 
he felt safe. Wasn't. Brody's boys burned eyes out and ears off. He made 
one orbit after that and crashed near Torricelli, apparently in attempt 
to land, for his jets fired just before crash. 

But our next news at new site was from Earthside: that brassy F. N. 
frequency claimed that our catapult had been destroyed (true) and that 
Lunar menace was ended (false) and called on all Loonies to take prisoner 
their false leaders and surrender themselves to mercy of Federated 
Nations (nonexistent--"mercy, " that is) . 

Listened to it and checked programming again, and went inside dark 
radar room. If everything went as planned, we were about to lay another 
egg in Hudson River, then targets in succession for three hours across 
that continent-- " in succession" because Junior could not handle 
simultaneous hits; Mike had planned accordingly. 

Hudson River was hit on schedule. Wondered how many New Yorkers 
were listening to F. N. newscast while looking at spot that gave it lie. 

Two hours later F. N. station was saying that Lunar rebels had had 
missiles in orbit when catapult was destroyed--but that after those few 
had impacted would be no more. When third bombing of North America was 
complete I shut down radar. Had not been running steadily; Junior was 
programmed to sneak looks only as necessary, a few seconds at a time. 

I then had nine hours before next bombing of Great China. 

But not nine hours for most urgent decision, whether to hit Great 
China again. Without information. Except from Terra's news channels. 

Which might be false. Bloody. Without knowing whether or not warrens had 
been bombed. Or Prof was dead or alive. Double bloody. Was I now acting 
prime minister? Needed Prof: "head of state" wasn't my glass of chai . 
Above all, needed Mike--to calculate facts, estimate uncertainties, 
project probabilities of this course or that. 

My word, didn't even know whether ships were headed toward us and, 
worse yet, was afraid to look. If turned radar on and used Junior for sky 
search, any warship he brushed with beams would see him quicker than he 
saw them; warships were built to spot radar surveillance. So had heard. 
Hell, was no military man; was computer technician who had bumbled into 
wrong field. 

Somebody buzzed door; I got up and unlocked. Was Wyoh, with coffee. 
Didn't say a word, just handed it to me and went away. 

Sipped it. There it is, boy--they're leaving you alone, waiting for 
you to pull miracles out of pouch. Didn't feel up to it. 

From somewhere, back in my youth, heard Prof say, "Manuel, when 
faced with a problem you do not understand, do any part of it you do 
understand, then look at it again." He had been teaching me something he 

himself did not understand very well--something in maths--but had taught 
me something far more important, a basic principle. 

Knew at once what to do first. 

Went over to Junior and had him print out predicted impacts of all 
loads in orbit--easy, was a pre-program he could run anytime against real 
time running. While he was doing it, I looked for certain alternate 
programs in that long roll Mike had prepared. 

Then set up some of those alternate programs--no trouble, simply 
had to be careful to read them correctly and punch them in without error. 
Made Junior print back for check before I gave him signal to execute. 

When f inished--f orty minutes--every load in trajectory intended for 
an inland target had been retargeted for a seacoast city--with hedge to 
my bet that execution was delayed for rocks farther back. But, unless I 
canceled. Junior would reposition them as soon as need be. 

Now horrible pressure of time was off me, now could abort any load 
into ocean right up to last few minutes before impact. Now could think. 

So did. 

Then called in my 'War Cabinet"--Wyoh, Stu, and Greg my "Commander 
of Armed Forces," using Greg's office. Lenore was allowed to go in and 
out, fetching coffee and food, or sitting and saying nothing. Lenore is a 
sensible fern and knows when to keep quiet. 

Stu started it. "Mr. Prime Minister, I do not think that Great 
China should be hit this time." 

"Never mind fancy titles, Stu. Maybe I'm acting, maybe not. But 
haven't time for formality." 

"Very well. May I explain my proposal?" 

"Later." I explained what I had done to give us more time; he 
nodded and kept quiet. "Our tightest squeeze is that we are out of 
communication, both Luna City and Earthside. Greg, how about that repair 
crew? " 

"Not back yet . " 

"If break is near Luna City, they may be gone a long time. If can 
repair at all. So must assume we'll have to act on our own. Greg, do you 
have an electronics tech who can jury-rig a radio that will let us talk 
to Earthside? To their satellites, I mean--that doesn't take much with 
right antenna. I may be able to help and that computer tech I sent you 
isn't too clumsy, either." (Quite good, in fact, for ordinary 
electronics — a poor bloke I had once falsely accused of allowing a fly to 
get into Mike's guts. I had placed him in this job.) 

"Harry Biggs, my power plant boss, can do anything of that sort," 
Greg said thoughtfully, "if he has the gear." 

"Get him on it. You can vandalize anything but radar and computer 
once we get all loads out of catapult. How many lined up?" 

"Twenty-three, and no more steel." 

"So twenty-three it is, win or lose. I want them ready for loading; 
might lob them off today." 

"They're ready. We can load as fast as the cat can throw them." 

"Good. One more thing--Don't know whether there's an F. N. cruiser- 
-maybe more than one--in our sky or not. And afraid to look. By radar, I 
mean; radar for skywatch could give away our position. But must have 
skywatch. Can you get volunteers for an eyeball skywatch and can you 
spare them?" 

Lenore spoke up. "I volunteer!" 

"Thanks, honey; you're accepted." 

"We'll find them," said Greg. "Won't need ferns." 

"Let her do it, Greg; this is everybody's show. " Explained what I 
wanted: Mare Undarum was now in dark semi-lunar; Sun had set. Invisible 
boundary between sunlight and Luna's shadow stretched over us, a precise 
locus. Ships passing through our sky would wink suddenly into view going 
west, blink out going east. Visible part of orbit would stretch from 
horizon to some point in sky. If eyeball team could spot both points, 
mark one by bearing, other by stars, and approximate time by counting 
seconds. Junior could start guessing orbit--two passes and Junior would 
know its period and something about shape of orbit. Then I would have 
some notion of when would be safe to use radar and radio, and catapult — 
did not want to loose a load with F. N. ship above horizon, could be 
radar-looking our way. 

Perhaps too cautious--but had to assume that this catapult, this 
one radar, these two dozen missiles, were all that stood between Luna and 
total defeat--and our bluff hinged on them never knowing what we had or 
where it was. We had to appear endlessly able to pound Terra with 
missiles, from source they had not suspected and could never find. 

Then as now, most Loonies knew nothing about astronomy— we ' re cave 
dwellers, we go up to surface only when necessary. But we were lucky; was 
amateur astronomer in Greg's crew, cobber who had worked at Richardson. I 
explained, put him in charge, let him worry about teaching eyeball crew 
how to tell stars apart. I got these things started before we went back 
to talk-talk. "Well, Stu? Why shouldn't we hit Great China?" 

"I'm still expecting word from Dr. Chan. I received one message 
from him, phoned here shortly before we were cut off from cities--" 

"My word, why didn't you tell me?" 

"I tried to, but you had yourself locked in and I know better than 
to bother you when you are busy with ballistics. Here's the translation. 
Usual LuNoHo Company address with a reference which means it's for me and 
that it has come through my Paris agent. 'Our Darwin sales 
representative ' --that ' s Chan-- ' informs us that your shipments of'—well, 
never mind the coding; he means the attack days while appearing to refer 
to last June-- 'were improperly packaged resulting in unacceptable damage. 
Unless this can be corrected, negotiations for long-term contract will be 
seriously jeopardized." 

Stu looked up. "All doubletalk. I take it to mean that Dr. Chan 
feels that he has his government ready to talk terms . . . but that we 
should let up on bombing Great China or we may upset his apple cart." 

"Hmm— " Got up and walked around. Ask Wyoh's opinion? Nobody knew 
Wyoh's virtues better than I... but she oscillated between fierceness and 
too-human compassion — and I had learned already that a "head of state, " 
even an acting one, must have neither. Ask Greg? Greg was a good farmer, 
a better mechanic, a rousing preacher; I loved him dearly—but did not 
want his opinion. Stu? I had had his opinion. 

Or did I? "Stu, what's your opinion? Not Chan's opinion—but your 

own . " 

Stu looked thoughtful. "That's difficult, Mannie . I am not Chinese, 

I have not spent much time in Great China, and can't claim to be expert 
in their politics nor their psychology. So I'm forced to depend on his 
opinion . " 

"Uh--Damn it, he's not a Loonie! His purposes are not our purposes. 
What does he expect to get out of it?" 

"I think he is maneuvering for a monopoly over Lunar trade. Perhaps 
bases here, too. Possibly an extraterritorial enclave. Not that we would 
grant that . " 

"Might if we were hurtin' . " 

"He didn't say any of this. He doesn't say much, you know. He 
listens . " 

"Too well I know." Worried at it, more bothered each minute. 

News from Earthside had been droning in background; I had asked 
Wyoh to monitor while I was busy with Greg. "Wyoh, hon, anything new from 
Earthside ? " 

"No. The same claims. We've been utterly defeated and our surrender 
is expected momentarily. Oh, there's a warning that some missiles are 
still in space, falling out of control, but with it a reassurance that 
the paths are being analyzed and people will be warned in time to avoid 
impact areas . " 

"Anything to suggest that Prof — or anybody in Luna City, or 
anywhere in Luna--is in touch with Earthside?" 

"Nothing at all." 

"Damn. Anything from Great China?" 

"No. Comments from almost everywhere else. But not from Great 
China. " 

"Uh--" Stepped to door. "Greg! Hey, cobber, see if you can find 
Greg Davis. I need him." 

Closed door. "Stu, we're not going to let Great China off." 


"No. Would be nice if Great China busted alliance against us; might 
save us some damage. But we've got this far only by appearing able to hit 
them at will and to destroy any ship they send against us. At least I 
hope that last one was burned and we've certainly clobbered eight out of 
nine. We won't get anywhere by looking weak, not while F. N. is claiming 
that we are not just weak but finished. Instead we must hand them 
surprises. Starting with Great China and if it makes Dr. Chan unhappy, 
we'll give him a kerchief to weep into. If we can go on looking strong-- 
when F. N. says we're licked--then eventually some veto power is going to 
crack. If not Great China, then some other one." 

Stu bowed without getting up. "Very well, sir." 

II J I! 

Greg came in. "You want me, Mannie?" 

"What makes with Earthside sender?" 

"Harry says you have it by tomorrow. A crummy rig, he says, but 
push watts through it and will be heard." 

"Power we got. And if he says 'tomorrow' then he knows what he 
wants to build. So will be today--say six hours. I'll work under him. 

Wyoh hon, will you get my arms? Want number-six and number-three--better 
bring number-five, too. And you stick with me and change arms for me. 

Stu, want you to write some nasty messages--I ' 11 give you general idea 
and you put acid in them. Greg, we are not going to get all those rocks 
into space at once. Ones we have in space now will impact in next 
eighteen, nineteen hours. Then, when F. N. is announcing that all rocks 
are accounted for and Lunar menace is over. . . we crash into their 
newscast and warn of next bombings. Shortest possible orbits, Greg, ten 
hours or less--so check everything on catapult and H-plant and controls; 
with that extra boost all has to be dead on." 

Wyoh was back with arms; I told her "number six" and added, "Greg, 
let me talk with Harry." 

Six hours later sender was ready to beam toward Terra. Was ugly 
job, vandalized mainly out of a resonance prospector used in project's 
early stages. But could ride an audio signal on its radio frequency and 
was powerful. Stu ' s nastified versions of my warnings had been taped and 
Harry was ready to zipsqueal them--all Terran satellites could accept 
high speed at sixty-to-one and had no wish to have our sender heated more 
seconds than necessary; eyeball watch had confirmed fears: At least two 
ships were in orbit around Luna. 

So we told Great China that her major coastal cities would each 
receive a Lunar present offset ten kilometers into ocean— Pusan, 

Tsingtao, Taipei, Shanghai, Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Djakarta, Darwin, 
and so forth—except that Old Hong Kong would get one smack on top of F. 
N. 's Far East offices, so kindly have all human beings move far back. 

Stu noted that human beings did not mean F. N. personnel; they were urged 
to stay at desks. 

India was given similar warnings about coastal cities and was told 
that F. N. global offices would be spared one more rotation out of 
respect for cultural monuments in Agra—and to permit human beings to 
evacuate. (I intended to extend this by another rotation as deadline 
approached—out of respect for Prof. And then another, indefinitely. Damn 
it, they would build their home offices next door to most overdecorated 
tomb ever built. But one that Prof treasured.) 

Rest of world was told to keep their seats; game was going extra 
innings. But stay away from any F. N. offices anywhere; we were frothing 
at mouth and no F. N. office was safe. Better yet, get out of any city 
containing an F. N. headquarters—but F. N. vips and finks were urged to 
sit tight. 

Then spent next twenty hours coaching Junior into sneaking his 
radar peeks when our sky was clear of ships, or believed to be. Napped 
when I could and Lenore stayed with me and woke me in time for next 
coaching. And that ended Mike's rocks and we all went into alert while we 
got first of Junior's rocks flung high and fast. Waited until certain it 
had gone hot and true-then told Terra where to look for it and where and 
when to expect it, so that all would know that F. N. 's claims of victory 
were on a par with their century of lies about Luna— all in Stu's best, 
snotty, supercilious phrases delivered in his cultured accents. 

First one should have been for Great China but was one piece of 
North American Directorate we could reach with it— her proudest jewel, 
Hawaii. Junior placed it in triangle formed by Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. 

I didn't work out programming; Mike had anticipated everything. 

Then pronto we got off ten more rocks at short intervals (had to 
skip one program, a ship in our sky) and told Great China where to look 
and when to expect them and where— coastal cities we had neglected day 
before . 

Was down to twelve rocks but decided was safer to run out of 
ammunition than to look as if we were running out. So I awarded seven to 
Indian coastal cities, picking new targets— and Stu inquired sweetly if 
Agra had been evacuated. If not, please tell us at once. (But heaved no 
rock at it . ) 

Egypt was told to clear shipping out of Suez Canal-bluff; was 
hoarding last five rocks. 

Then waited. 

Impact at Lahaina Roads, that target in Hawaii. Looked good at high 
mag; Mike could be proud of Junior. 

And waited. 

Thirty-seven minutes before first China Coast impact Great China 
denounced actions of F. N., recognized us, offered to negotiate--and I 
sprained a finger punching abort buttons . 

Then was punching buttons with sore finger; India stumbled over 
feet following suit. 

Egypt recognized us. Other nations started scrambling for door. 

Stu informed Terra that we had suspended--only suspended, not 
stopped--bombardments . Now get those ships out of our sky at once--NOW!-- 
and we could talk. If they could not get home without refilling tanks, 
let them land not less than fifty kilometers from any mapped warren, then 
wait for their surrender to be accepted. But clear our sky now! 

This ultimatum we delayed a few minutes to let a ship pass beyond 
horizon; we weren't taking chances--one missile and Luna would have been 
helpless . 

And waited. 

Cable crew returned. Had gone almost to Luna City, found break. But 
thousands of tonnes of loose rock impeded repair, so they had done what 
they could--gone back to a spot where they could get through to surface, 
erected a temporary relay in direction they thought Luna City lay, sent 
up a dozen rockets at ten-minute intervals, and hoped that somebody would 
see, understand, aim a relay at it--Any communication? 

No . 


Eyeball squad reported that a ship which had been clockfaithful for 
nineteen passes had failed to show. Ten minutes later they reported that 
another ship had missed expected appearance. 

We waited and listened. 

Great China, speaking on behalf of all veto powers, accepted 
armistice and stated that our sky was now clear. Lenore burst into tears 
and kissed everybody she could reach. 

After we steadied down (a man can't think when women are grabbing 
him, especially when five of them are not his wives) --a few minutes 
later, when we were coherent, I said, "Stu, want you to leave for Luna 
City at once. Pick your party. No women— you ' 11 have to walk surface last 
kilometers. Find out what's going on--but first get them to aim a relay 
at ours and phone me." 

"Very good, sir." 

We were getting him outfitted for a tough journey-extra air 
bottles, emergency shelter, so forth—when Earthside called me on 
frequency we were listening to because message was (learned later) on all 
frequencies up from Earthside: "Private message. Prof to Mannie — 
identification, birthday Bastille and Sherlock's sibling. Come home at 
once. Your carriage waits at your new relay. Private message, Prof to--" 

And went on repeating. 

"Harry ! " 

"Da, Boss?" 

"Message Earthside — tape and squeal; we still don't want them 
ranging us. 'Private message, Mannie to Prof. Brass Cannon. On my way!' 
Ask them to acknowledge—but use only one squeal." 


Stu and Greg drove on way back, while Wyoh and Lenore and I huddled on 
open flatbed, strapped to keep from falling off; was too small. Had time 
to think; neither girl had suit radio and we could talk only by helmet 
touch --awkward . 

Began to see— now that we had won--parts of Prof's plan that had 
never been clear to me. Inviting attack against catapult had spared 
warrens—hoped it had; that was plan—but Prof had always been cheerfully 
indifferent to damage to catapult. Sure, had a second one—but far away 
and difficult to reach. Would take years to put a tube system to new 
catapult, high mountains all way. Probably cheaper to repair old one. If 
possible . 

Either way, no grain shipped to Terra in meantime. 

And that was just what Prof wanted! Yet never once had he hinted 
that his plan was based on destroying old catapult—his long-range plan, 
not just Revolution. He might not admit it now. But Mike would tell me — 
if put to him flatly: Was or was not this one factor in odds? Food riot 
predictions and all that, Mike? He would tell me. 

That tonne-f or-tonne deal— Prof had expounded it Earthside, had 
been argument for a Terran catapult. But privately he had no enthusiasm 
for it. Once he had told me, in North America, "Yes, Manuel, I feel sure 
it would work. But, if built, it will be temporary. There was a time, two 
centuries ago, when dirty laundry used to be shipped from California to 
Hawaii— by sailing ship, mind you — and clean laundry returned. Special 
circumstances. If we ever see water and manure shipped to Luna and grain 
shipped back, it will be just as temporary. Luna's future lies in her 
unique position at the top of a gravity well over a rich planet, and in 
her cheap power and plentiful real estate. If we Loonies have sense 
enough in the centuries ahead to remain a free port and to stay out of 
entangling alliances, we will become the crossroads for two planets, 
three planets, the entire Solar System. We won't be farmers forever." 

They met us at Station East and hardly gave time to get p-suits 
off— was return from Earthside over again, screaming mobs and being 
ridden on shoulders. Even girls, for Slim Lemke said to Lenore, "May we 
carry you, too?"— and Wyoh answered, "Sure, why not?"— and stilyagi 
fought for chance to. 

Most men were pressure-suited and I was surprised to see how many 
carried guns— until I saw that they were not our guns; they were 
captured. But most of all what blessed relief to see L-City unhurt! 

Could have done without triumphal procession; was itching to get to 
phone and find out from Mike what had happened— how much damage, how many 
killed, what this victory cost. But no chance. We were carried to Old 
Dome willy-nilly. 

They shoved us up on a platform with Prof and rest of Cabinet apd 
vips and such, and our girls slobbered on Prof and he embraced me Latin 
style, kiss cheek, and somebody stuck a Liberty Cap on me. Spotted little 
Hazel in crowd and threw her a kiss. 

At last they quieted enough for Prof to speak. 

"My friends," he said, and waited for silence. "My friends," he 
repeated softly. "Beloved comrades. We meet at last in freedom and now 
have with us the heroes who fought the last battle for Luna, alone." They 
cheered us, again he waited. Could see he was tired; hands trembled as he 
steadied self against pulpit. "I want them to speak to you, we want to 
hear about it, all of us. 

"But first I have a happy message. Great China has just announced 
that she is building in the Himalayas an enormous catapult, to make 
shipping to Luna as easy and cheap as it has been to ship from Luna to 
Terra . " 

He stopped for cheers, then went on, "But that lies in the future. 
Today--Oh, happy day! At last the world acknowledges Luna's sovereignty. 
Free! You have won your freedom--" 

Prof stopped--looked surprised. Not afraid, but puzzled. Swayed 
slightly . 

Then he did die. 


We got him into a shop behind platform. But even with help of a dozen 
doctors was no use; old heart was gone, strained too many times. They 
carried him out back way and I started to follow. 

Stu touched my arm. "Mr. Prime Minister--" 

I said, "Huh? Oh, for Bog's sake!" 

"Mr. Prime Minister," he repeated firmly, "you must speak to the 
crowd, send them home. Then there are things that must be done." He spoke 
calmly but tears poured down cheeks. 

So I got back on platform and confirmed what they had guessed and 
told them to go home. And wound up in room L of Raffles, where all had 
started--emergency Cabinet meeting. But first ducked to phone, lowered 
hood, punched MYCROFTXXX. 

Got null-number signal. Tried again--same. Pushed up hood and said 
to man nearest me, Wolfgang, "Aren't phones working?" 

"Depends," he said. "That bombing yesterday shook things up. If you 
want an out-of-town number, better call the phone office." 

Could see self asking office to get me a null. "What bombing?" 

"Haven't you heard? It was concentrated on the Complex. But Brody's 
boys got the ship. No real damage. Nothing that can't be fixed." 

Had to drop it; they were waiting. I didn't know what to do but Stu 
and Korsakov did. Sheenie was told to write news releases for Terra and 
rest of Luna; I found self announcing a lunar of mourning, twenty-four 
hours of quiet, no unnecessary business, giving orders for body to lie in 
state--all words put into mouth, I was numb, brain would not work. Okay, 
convene Congress at end of twenty-four hours. In Novylen? Okay. 

Sheenie had dispatches from Earthside. Wolfgang wrote for me 
something which said that, because of death of our President, answers 
would be delayed at least twenty-four hours. 

At last was able to get away, with Wyoh. A stilyagi guard kept 
people away from us to easement lock thirteen. Once home I ducked into 
workshop on pretense of needing to change arms. "Mike?" 

No answer-- 

So tried punching his combo into house phone--null signal. Resolved 
to go out to Complex next day--with Prof gone, needed Mike worse than 
ever . 

But next day was not able to go; trans-Crisium tube was out--that 
last bombing. You could go around through Torricelli and Novylen and 
eventually reach Hong Kong. But Complex, almost next door, could be 
reached only by rolligon. Couldn't take time; I was "government." 

Managed to shuck that off two days later. By resolution was decided 
that Speaker (Finn) had succeeded to Presidency after Finn and I had 
decided that Wolfgang was best choice for Prime Minister. We put it 
through and I went back to being Congressman who didn't attend sessions. 

By then most phones were working and Complex could be called. 
Punched MYCROFFXXX. No answer--So went out by rolligon. Had to go down 
and walk tube last kilometer but Complex Under didn't seem hurt. 

Nor did Mike appear to be. 

But when I spoke to him, he didn't answer. 

He has never answered. Has been many years now. 

You can type questions into him--in Loglan--and you'll get Loglan 
answers out. He works just fine... as a computer. But won't talk. Or 
can ' t . 

Wyoh tried to coax him. Then she stopped. Eventually I stopped. 

Don't know how it happened. Many outlying pieces of him got chopped 
off in last bombing--was meant, I'm sure, to kill our ballistic computer. 
Did he fall below that "critical number" it takes to sustain self- 
awareness? (If is such; was never more than hypothesis.) Or did 
decentralizing that was done before that last bombing "kill" him? 

I don't know. If was just matter of critical number, well, he's 
long been repaired; he must be back up to it. Why doesn't he wake up? 

Can a machine be so frightened and hurt that it will go into 
catatonia and refuse to respond? While ego crouches inside, aware but 
never willing to risk it? No, can't be that; Mike was unafraid--as gaily 
unafraid as Prof. 

Years, changes--Mimi long ago opted out of family management; Anna 
is "Mum" now and Mimi dreams by video. Slim got Hazel to change name to 
Stone, two kids and she studied engineering. All those new free-fall 
drugs and nowadays earthworms stay three or four years and go home 
unchanged. And those other drugs that do almost as much for us; some kids 
go Earthside to school now; And Tibet catapult--took seventeen years 
instead of ten; Kilimanjaro job was finished sooner. 

One mild surprise--When time came, Lenore named Stu for opting, 
rather than Wyoh. Made no difference, we all voted "Da!" One thing not a 
surprise because Wyoh and I pushed it through during time we still 
amounted to something in government: a brass cannon on a pedestal in 
middle of Old Dome and over it a flag fluttering in blower breeze--black 
field speckled with stars, bar sinister in blood, a proud and jaunty 
brass cannon embroidered over all, and below it our motto: TANSTAAFL! 
That's where we hold our Fourth-of- July celebrations. 

You get only what you pay for--Prof knew and paid, gaily. 

But Prof underrated yammerheads. They never adopted any of his 
ideas . Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making everything 

compulsory that isn't forbidden. Prof got fascinated by possibilities for 
shaping future that lay in a big, smart computer — and lost track of 
things closer home. Oh, I backed him! But now I wonder. Are food riots 
too high a price to pay to let people be? I don't know. 

Don't know any answers. 

Wish I could ask Mike. 

I wake up in night and think I've heard him--just a whisper: 

"Man... Man my best friend..." But when I say, "Mike?" he doesn't answer. 
Is he wandering around somewhere, looking for hardward to hook onto? Or 
is he buried down in Complex Under, trying to find way out? Those special 
memories are all in there somewhere, waiting to be stirred. But I can't 
retrieve them; they were voice-coded. 

Oh, he's dead as Prof, I know it. (But how dead is Prof?) If I 
punched it just once more and said, "Hi, Mike!" would he answer, "Hi, 

Man! Heard any good ones lately?" Been a long time since I've risked it. 
But he can't really be dead; nothing was hurt--he's just lost. 

You listening. Bog? Is a computer one of Your creatures? 

Too many changes--May go to that talk-talk tonight and toss in some 
random numbers . 

Or not. Since Boom started quite a few young cobbers have gone out 
to Asteroids. Hear about some nice places out there, not too crowded. 

My word, I'm not even a hundred yet. 

The End